Professor Wayne Baker, a Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, co-founder and board member of Give and Take Inc. and author of “All you have to do is ask: How to master the most important skill for success.” He shares 4 simple things you can do to connect meaningfully in a virtual meeting, and discusses key points from his book that can help you brush up on your virtual meeting etiquette.
All you have to do is ask
Professor Wayne Baker’s new book “All you have to do is ask: How to master the most important skill for success” was released in January 2020, the origin of which he traces back to an activity he created called the “reciprocity ring”, which enables people to ask for and give help to one another, tapping into the natural generosity that all people have.
He found that the real problem was not getting people to be more generous. As it turns out, getting people to ask for what they needed was the truly tricky part. You can’t help someone unless you know what they need, and you can’t give them what they need unless they tell you.
How do you ask for what you need? (especially in a virtual world!)
Funnily enough, leaders struggle with asking for what they need the most because of the perceived expectation they think others have of them, but as a leader, you really have to set the example, so you need to make sure you make the requests for what you need as well.
What is the S.M.A.R.T criteria in relation to asking or what you need? We’ve all heard of the S.M.A.R.T criteria, but this is a whole new one aimed at helping you ask for what you need in the most efficient way possible. An effective request is one that’s formulated using the 5 S.M.A.R.T criteria:
S – Specific. Make sure you ask for what you need in a very specific way, whether it be research, data or whatever you need.
M – Meaningful. Let people know “why” you’re making this request.
A – Ask. Don’t just plan your request in your head, actually ask for what you need to achieve your goal.
R – Realistic. Be realistic and keep your request within the realm of possibility.
T – Time. There needs to be a deadline for your request.
4 Simple things you can do to connect meaningfully in virtual meetings
We’re all used to face-to-face interactions and for most of us, it comes pretty naturally, but when it comes to virtual meeting etiquette we’re a bit new to it, so how do you get your audience to engage meaningfully online? Professor Wayne Baker breaks it down for us in easy to understand steps. Here are 4 Simple things you can do to connect meaningfully in a virtual meeting:
- Video on! Make sure to leave the video on as this creates a better sense of presence.
- Acknowledge the reality we’re in – Keep your virtual conferences and meetings as human as possible and acknowledge situations that affect everybody, such as COVID 19.
- Make it personal – There should be some opportunity to connect with people on a personal level like sharing something about your family or actually showing the environment that you’re in, this leads back to leaving the video on.
- Learn something new – Find an opportunity to learn something new such as coming up with an interesting fun fact or creating a short presentation about an interesting topic.
What else can I do to improve my virtual meetings?
Facilitate your virtual group meetings – Making sure everyone gets a turn to speak is hard enough when you’re in a face-to-face meeting, but turn-taking on a platform such as Zoom, is so much harder. What we really need is active facilitation in virtual group meetings. Make sure you bring people into the conversation and show that they have value during a virtual conference.
Take notes in virtual meetings and conferences – Make use of your virtual tools such as the “chat” function, especially in a large virtual conference, most people pose better questions when they have to think about it and type it out. The answers you’ll receive will also be more thoughtful because everyone has to think about what they’re writing before they type it out.