Prior to the pandemic, remote meetings were the domain of teams from different locations, but safety considerations are now at the top of the decision tree for whether to hold a meeting online or face-to-face.
If a remote meeting is necessary, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Zoom, Skype, Teams, Google Meet – there are so many online meeting platforms these days and your company may have a preference. Your company may also have a policy on whether people must have their cameras on for meetings. Sometimes, especially if the purpose of the call is a task-based one, a simple phone call or old-school conference call might be the way to go.
When it is safe and possible to do so, physical meetings can be great relationship and team building experiences. Although we have developed a habit for online meetings, as we begin to rebuild relationships and working in the office again, face-to-face meetings are often the best approach for the relationship-based drivers for a meeting.
But that’s only the first decision to be made. There are several other variables:
Is the meeting best held in the office or somewhere else?
This may depend on the number of people attending, privacy concerns and also optics both to attendees and others in the office. It can also be a simple time issue – it can be faster to have a quick meeting in the office than to have to go out somewhere. One company I worked with had an open plan office so if the senior management wanted to have a meeting with an employee on a personal performance issue, they would invite them “for a walk around the carpark”. This request was often met with an immediate fear for what was coming!
Is the meeting a formal or informal one?
This will depend on the content and objective of the meeting. Is a formal lunch meeting required? Or an informal coffee break? One of my early mentors would take us out for coffee when he was coaching or teaching us so the meeting didn’t feel so formal and we were more open to the feedback and lesson. Another of my bosses used to take us for a walk around the nearby park when he had a brainstorming question, believing that movement stimulated creative thinking.
Choosing the best location and format for a meeting can go a long way to achieving the objectives of it and to cementing longer term relationships and working patterns. Be creative and find new places and ways to hold meetings. Taking a few moments to run through the options is a good investment in the power of the outcome.
- Bec Ordish