If your team members are less than enthusiastic about the thought of yet another virtual meeting, you are not alone. Like it or not, online calls have become an undeniable part of the way we now work. As relationship systems coaches and leaders, we rely on face-to-face interactions. How can we encourage people to feel passionate about mutual purpose, supported, and part of a team when they are working across town, across the country, and even across the planet?
Fortunately, the same skillset we draw on in Relationships Systems Intelligence (RSI™) can help us to maintain connection in remote teams.
Like other organizations, we had a learning curve to navigate as we translated in-person Organization and Relationship Systems (ORSC™) courses to an online format. So much of ORSC relies on the invisible signals we receive from one another. Would it be possible to see, hear, feel and sense the system through a screen?
Yes! By adding best practices from RSI, we can carry this awareness with us into the virtual world and avoid Zoom fatigue in coaching teams.
Tips for Adding Relationship Systems Intelligence to Virtual Meetings
1 - Keep cameras and microphones on, at least part of the time. It’s hard to connect with a team you can’t see. As RSI practitioners, we continue to monitor all of the quiet signals from the system - a raised eyebrow, a sigh, silence - which tell us what might be happening below the surface.
2 - Go slow. Especially in a virtual context, there is no need to rush straight into the work of the meeting. It’s equally important to allow time to enjoy each other as people, just as you would if you were meeting in a physical space.
3 - Establish routines which support Deep Democracy. Explain how features like raising hands are used before the discussion begins. Monitoring the faces in the gallery provides clues as to when someone wants to speak. Breakout rooms with two or more people creates opportunities for more personal discussion around a topic.
4 - Hide the view of yourself. If you find glimpses of your own face to be distracting, cover the mirror by turning off self-view. This simple adjustment can help meetings feel more natural and less like you’re on stage.
5 - Bring the Metaskills to the party! Consciously consider the energy and intention you bring into the environment, and adjust it as needed.
6 - Challenge your team to remain aware of shifts in the Emotional Field. How does bringing awareness of the group energy add to the flow of the call?
7 - Create a Designed Team Alliance around the virtual workplace. Consider what rituals and protocols are built into team interactions and whether you want more opportunities to mingle. For instance, if your team misses water cooler conversations, you might plan a regular time for breaks to catch up with one another and toss around ideas.
8 - If you are the titled leader, pay attention to who is speaking and who remains silent. Encourage input from everyone, and present your ideas last. Observing who has contributed more often can help in ensuring more voices are heard.
9 - Allow time for dreaming as well as planning. Make the most of the talents of the visionaries, the collaborators and the planners on your team.
10 - Recognize the communication styles of different personalities, and accommodate where possible. If you are leading with another person, you might encourage those who are more introverted to respond through the chat. Set ground rules as you begin, so that the chat channel doesn’t become a separate discussion.
As with all that we do in systems coaching, our experience in virtual calls depends largely on the environment we choose to co-create together.
What practices have you found useful in online meetings?
CRR Global USA Staff