Pre-covid, most organisations, particularly healthcare ones, could not imagine holding ‘vitual meetings online’. They viewed it with great suspicion: “How can you really engage with people properly when you are not in the same room with them?”
Covid providing the burning bridge needed to push the detractors and resistors into this century and take up one of the most powerful tools we have in team communication – and that’s online conferencing.
It is a tool that clinical managers could use to better engage and involve everyone on their staff – even those who are not on duty! Most on-line conferencing platforms also allow for the meeting to be recorded so even if some people cannot make it, they can view the recording – which is way more interesting than reading meeting minutes!!! Having said that, I’d recommend you preparing a very short written list of what was covered and decided in the meeting and send this out to everyone after the meeting, along with a link to the recorded meeting.
You can also share your screen and other applications while you are on line. What this means is, if you want to view the ‘Visual Management Board’ and you have it online such as in Trello, you can share your screen and go through the boards with your team discussing where each item is up to and what needs to be done next. If you have documents or videos you want to show, you can do this too by sharing your screen.
Online meeting platforms
There are a number of online conferencing or meeting platforms. Here are few to check out. You probably have one already set up in your organisation that you are allowed to use. Check it out and practice using it.
Zoom (my favourite because it is easy to launch and use – and very reliable): https://zoom.us/
Google Meet (have not yet tried it, but looks easy to use straight from my Gmail): https://meet.google.com/
Microsoft Teams (Not bad – probably what you’ll use if you are using Sharepoint. I find it a little less reliable than zoom): https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/microsoft-teams/online-meetings
Rules of engagement
Online communication is not as clear as face to face and so needs to be well managed by the person leading and facilitating the meeting. I recommend that you and your team develop a set of tips to guide participants to contribute their best. Here are some tips to consider:
- Everyone must join at least 10 minutes before so that they can sort out their technical issues without disrupting the meeting.
- Join and stay on mute unless talking – background noise can really destroy a good meeting.
- Ask permission to record and remind everyone it is being recorded if it is.
- Do not butt-in or talk over anyone – raise your hand (literally or with the hand button if there is one) if you need to say something.
- The lead/facilitator ask everyone for their views – go around the group and ask to make sure everyone has a chance to contribute.
- List what type of behaviour and language is expected and what is not acceptable.
- Give people a phone in option if they cannot access a computer with the right set up – zoom allows you to phone into the same meeting and you can also join via your phone video.