Author of 72 Easy Tricks for Better Virtual Meetings: Achieve Goals, Engage People, and Leave Smiling - Even in an Online World
Expert Facilitator Kristin Leydig Bryant, who has worked for over 25 years in the topics of strategic execution, strategy formulation, change management, and leading for innovation sat down and shared some thoughts about her latest book: 72 Easy Tricks for Better Virtual Meetings: Achieve Goals, Engage People, and Leave Smiling - Even in an Online World. Below are some highlights about the book and about virtual meetings from a Q&A session with Kristin.
A: “The book is as the title says, 72 easy tricks. I want to really emphasize the easy part because I set out to write a book that was not necessarily for professional facilitators. But for people who have to lead meetings a lot as part of their regular job. These are things that can be done in any platform whether using Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, or Blue Jeans or whatever conference platform they are using, these are tricks that will work in any of those platforms as they all have some common functionality. It’s set up very pragmatically, here is what you do, here is why you do it. It is set up based on what you as the meeting leader wants to accomplish. You can go right to the section you want and figure out what you can do to make the meeting more engaging in that space.”
Q: What has been some of your biggest learnings about virtual delivery?
A: “For me the biggest learning is how we just have to accept that each of us is just doing the best we can. That we are all at home. We are all working hard. We are all juggling multiple things. Some of us have kids at home. Some of us have dogs and cats at home. Some of us have who knows what at home. And you’ve got the mowers outside and all the things that are happening around you. We all just have to support each other. Acknowledge that is everyone’s reality. And in way further embrace all of our humanness even though we are more distanced than we ever have been before. But in a lot of ways I find that these meetings are better because we are able to see more of each other and understand more of each other.”
Q: How have business simulations fit into this virtual world?
A: “The great thing about the business simulations IE does especially is that it is a literally a way to do all the things we say are important in virtual delivery. They have got their hands on something and are typing. They are talking to each other and solving problems in teams. They are literally practicing what we are teaching. The simulations lend themselves perfectly to working online and I think we are really fortunate to have that available to us.”
Q: SPOILER! of the 72 tips, which is your favorite?
A: “So my favorite is one of the early tips and its called ‘the sneaky participant onboarding’. What I tell people to do in the book is that if you are going to use a technique, if you are going to use the chat functionality in a certain way, if you are going to do a chat cascade, if you are going to use the annotation ‘quick and dirty poll’, give them a few minutes at the beginning of the call with a low pressure way to actually practice that thing. So as people are coming into the call, you have a slide up that tells people exactly how to do a chat cascade or how to do the online action. Nobody is feeling under pressure because its not a real question that has to do with the content of the meeting. It’s just something fun that feels like an ice breaker to them, but they are actually learning how do the mechanic in the zoom or WebEx or whatever at the same time. You are doing some sneaky training without them even knowing it.”
Watch the full interview below. For more on making virtual meetings better and to better understand a ‘chat cascade’ check out Kristin’s latest book available on Amazon.