The answer may sound like a ‘challenge’ in itself: by ALL attending a meeting with FULL attention. Multi-tasking, getting distracted yourself or noticing that others are not paying attention costs energy.
Relational Presence® is about the quality of attention in communication.
Certain aspects of Relational Presence Training can be applied excellently in online meetings.
How? A few simple and effective guidelines for online meetings
1. Too obvious but still: Be on time – waiting in an online meeting is even worse than waiting in real life.
2. All turn the video on. Yes, that is confrontational for many reasons. If you consider the meeting as a waste of time, you now can no longer take care of your email at the same time. If you’re used to taking the floor for a long time, you can now see others dropping out and if you don’t notice this, there is another tip to do something about it). But if everyone pays attention to it, you will notice that too!
3. Show the others that you are present with ALL of your attention with the call by always looking at the person speaking. Or if you’re speaking, always look at one listener at a time. Look with a peripheral view* – that helps to stay present and aware. * See also part 1
4. Raise your hand if you want to say anything or ask a question AND wait for the signal that it is your turn to speak. The chairman/moderator sees you. So you don’t have to speak very loud and talk uninterruptedly to get the word out. That strategy might often work (or not), but it also causes others dropping out of the meeting and thinking “never mind.”
5. Take turns. If you know in advance that you too will have the opportunity to say something briefly about a subject, that gives you peace of mind. Side effect: no wisdom is lost. Let everyone have their say before asking questions to each other. It really is faster. And some questions will resolve themselves if you let others speak and don’t interrupt them.
6. Keep it short. Agree on how much time everyone gets to say something about a topic; 30 sec to 1 minute will often do. Do not respond to what others have said, but speak purely from yourself: what do you think? The quality of listening also has an impact. If you notice that everyone is really listening to you, it becomes easier to share what rings true to you.
7. Monitor the time. Let the time keeper give a signal if someone has 10 seconds left. If it is too short, agree on what is necessary. A second round? A round for asking questions? Again, determine how much time everyone gets. Go for quality instead of quantity.
Which aspects of Relational Presence Training play a role in this?
Firstly, Presence – being able to quickly switch to the here-and-now. Not only know that it is important to be fully present with ALL of your attention but also know HOW to do it. Time after time. It takes a conscious choice.
Being with your mind there where your body is also results in other things including more awareness, relaxation and creativity.
Secondly, Relational– focus on relationship and connection. Start creating what you want others to do: really listen to you and see you. We all want to be seen and heard, to belong and make a contribution. How can you listen in such a way that others speak and how can you speak so that others really listen? How can everyone experience that sense of involvement and connection? Among other things, by giving everyone about the same amount of space to participate.
It is not difficult, Relational Presence, it does take practice and a conscious choice over and over again to be here-now with ALL your attention. To your best ability, which is great to practice in these meetings.
Curious about online Relational Presence training for you and your team and your company let me know and I will contact you.
Curious about on site Relational Presence Training – when we can meet again in real life? You can find the training courses that I provide together with Koos Wolcken here.