Two years ago, I was an analog gal. If you had told me I’d be meeting with coaching clients, teams, and whole organizations via video conference, I would have thought that was funny and terrifying.

We all know what happened. You can’t convince me that Zoom is better than in-person, but it’s so much better than nothing, and I learn more every day.

I’m usually the one leading the calls I’m on, so these four tidbits are from that perspective. But how to be a good participant in a virtual meeting is just as important and a a huge gift to the facilitator and the group.

  1. No Green Screens. I can’t control what others do, of course, and I know there are really good reasons to use a virtual background sometimes. But I don’t. I’ve arranged a precarious set-up in front of my bookshelf. Sometimes the light is pretty good, other times it’s not great. Sometimes my bookshelf looks awesome, other times it looks like a dumping ground. But it looks human, and that’s what I’m after.
  2. Yay for Phone Calls. I have been rediscovering the joy of under-stimulation lately. If I’m presenting to 50 people, obviously I can’t make that a phone call. But one-on-one? It’s perfect. My client can pull weeds or take a walk, or we can start on Zoom to see one another’s faces and then switch to phone. A break for the eyes, a deeper listening to one another, and more fidgeting (which is really good for us).
  3. Small Talk is Big. Especially for group meetings, this part is vital. What did you have for breakfast? What are you watching or listening to these days? What are you looking forward to? What’s one word that describes your morning so far? You get the point. Sometimes this is spoken plus chat, sometimes one or the other, hopefully a little messy and awkward, just like it might be settling into a room together.
  4. The Facilitator’s Energy Transfers through Cyberspace. Whether my energy is high or low, positive or negative, my clients can tell. And I’m responsible for the energy I bring into the space. This means I need to be getting enough sleep, not scheduling my meetings back-to-back, attending to my social, emotional, and spiritual needs so I can show up in the way my clients need.

Hang in there, world. I’ll see you on Zoom.