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Article by Renée Safrata, CEO & Founder, Vivo Team

Digital demands are growing—your virtual toolbox should too!

Virtual is viable, but digital is demanding.

Digital demands can be difficult, and they’re not diminishing anytime soon; if anything, they’re growing. With the ongoing development of these demands, you’ve got to ensure that you, your team(s), and your company remain afloat. Staying on top of virtual tools and techniques is your life raft. That means remaining up-to-date and familiar with digital developments, and ensuring your employees do too!

Lead by example, model modern practices, and consider implementing regular opportunities for the development of digital literacy in your office or organization. Clearly communicated and agreed-upon structures are a great place to start.

These structures include: a business communication platform, file sharing, shared calendars, and implementation of popular virtual tools.

  • Use of a business communication platform facilitates visibility. This increases cohesion and team alignment—breaking down communication barriers, decreasing errors, and increasing efficiency. Does your team use a business communication platform such as Slack or Microsoft Teams to share information about clients or projects? If not, it’s worth the investment.

 

  • Sharing is caring. Internal, company-wide sharing of files and calendars has a direct, positive impact on your bottom line—it saves everyone time—increasing productivity and efficiency. Automatic file sharing ensures easy access for everyone and comes in handy when a team member is out of office (sick, on vacation, or even unavailable while in a meeting).

 

  • Along the same lines, shared calendars foster a workplace culture of transparency and accountability while mitigating the time consuming challenge of confirming meeting participant availability.

 

  • A tried and true virtual meeting tactic is agreeing to a set of meeting behavior norms. This significantly increases productivity and engagement among teams. Remember, just because it’s obvious to you doesn’t mean it is to everyone. Some examples of these behavioral norms include: arriving on time; being prepared; engaging with your coworkers; listening, reflecting, and clarifying when necessary; resisting distraction (turn off/mute your notifications to ensure you remain present); use the go-and-throw method to pass the virtual meeting floor onto the next person; and respectively rejoin the meeting if you have any technical issues.

 

Who doesn’t love efficient and effective meetings?! To ensure success, it’s important to encourage everyone to actively participate regardless of their level in the organization. How can you ensure this?

Listening, reflecting, and clarifying is essential to ensuring effective communication, comprehensive understanding, and successful (meeting/project) outcomes. How can you achieve this?

Again, effective meetings require all attendees to be clear on statements made so that after the meeting next steps can be actioned. One person speaks at a time, and actively listen to what they are saying rather than thinking about what you will say next.

When you don’t understand something, don’t sit in silence. Instead, repeat back what you heard the speaker say for clarity. This reframes and reiterates your co-worker’s statement to all participants. Clarity often comes in the reframing process.

The go-and-throw method involves clearly passing the virtual floor onto the next person—for example: “over to you, Sam”, or “back to you, Devon”. Passing the virtual floor/microphone in this way lets others know when you are done which reduces confusion and those awkward virtual interruptions we all know too well. This is also a clever tool to keep participants engaged—as everyone must ensure they “throw” to someone who hasn’t spoken yet.

Try concluding every meeting with appreciations, difficulties, and a final statement (ADFS). What does this look like? At the end of each meeting, use the “go-and-throw” method (described above) to have everyone share an appreciation, a difficulty, and a final statement. Why? This ensures each meeting attendee has the opportunity to share their viewpoint(s), it offers an opportunity to give and receive immediate feedback, and all participants are able to gain an understanding of how the meeting went, next steps, etc. which in turn creates greater connection among team members.

About Renée Safrata, Founder & CEO, Vivo Team
Over the past 30+ years Renée Safrata has worked with thousands of companies and executives throughout North America and Europe, helping them to connect, adopt new behaviors, and become confident members of highly functioning teams. As Founder and CEO, she oversees Vivo Team’s full spectrum learning experience, develops leaders and teams through live, online training, coaching, and people analytics.

About Vivo Team
Watch your workplace culture and profitability soar! Vivo Team’s full spectrum learning experience develops competence, motivation, and collaboration among your leaders and teams through live, online training, coaching, and people analytics. The content and format are based on the latest, proven research in learning and development.

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