Today while facilitating a large meeting, I actually got people to focus and be present in the room. This has been a real challenge for me and others in our new virtual meeting world. Sometimes it’s even a challenge to ask people to keep their camera on!
Make a Different Decision Today
I did this by asking people to make a different decision. It happened as I asked people to come onto a virtual whiteboard to participate in an activity. I could tell that about 30% of the people on the call hadn’t joined in. In the past, I would have given people a hall pass on this, I would have let it go. But this time, I really needed everyone to be present and participating. It was a leadership team meeting, and I knew that if they couldn’t be present and show up here, they would probably not show up to their own teams in the organization later. So it was my opportunity to role model something else.
I said to the group, “I’ve noticed that there are some of you that haven’t joined the board. I’m curious about what’s happening for you there? Perhaps you’re multitasking, perhaps you’re checking emails?” I just called it out.
And I then said, “I’d like to ask you to make a different decision today. Because really being present in this activity will mean that you get so much more out of it. And you’ll offer that to others in the group as well. I’ve been listening to a podcast just this morning on multitasking. Did you know that researchers found that when you talk on a mobile phone while driving, it’s the same as driving while being under the influence of alcohol to a 0.08 level. That’s an illegal level under which to be driving! . Multi-tasking dramatically reduces our ability to do everything well”.
After that gentle coaching, everyone in the meeting came onto the white board, and the level of engagement was significantly increased for the duration of the meeting. would
Gentle Coaching works
I walked away thinking, I will use that gentle coaching technique again. Because when people join a meeting, and they’ve committed their time for a particular outcome, we all deserve to be present. We all deserve to have others be present. Today I’m making a decision to not multitask.