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The Coach: ‘How should I manage video conference calls?’

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Video conferences require sensitive chairmanship, says Matthew Turner

We are in the middle of completing a large tender package and I have a diverse team to manage remotely. The other day one colleague got quite agitated in a video call when challenged why she hadn’t brought up a particular issue before. She said that I had never let her speak on these large conference calls. How can I address this?

Matthew turner

Matthew turner

The video conference format seems to be great for certain kinds of meeting, but not so good for others. Straightforward fact-sharing and updating, or ‘speaker and listener’ meetings, work quite well in this format.

More collaborative and exploratory meetings can be challenging, and many are reporting these meetings are very tiring.

Gone is the ability to scan the room, spot the nuance of someone’s body language indicating they want to step in.

Whatever the content, the one-voice-at-a-time model rewards extroverts, and risks introverts shrinking into the ether on large calls.

There is a simple solution to this, through good chairmanship that actively seeks input at various points in the call. Switch from ‘broadcast’ to ‘receive’.

When concluding, if you have not heard from someone, ask them directly if they have any comments.

AJ coach Matthew Turner is an architect and careers consultant who runs the Building on Architecture consultancy. Email him in confidence at hello@buildingonarchitecture.com.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Sounds to me like there is a basic communication issue - why didn't the person in question feel comfortable picking up the phone to call the team leader about the 'issue' beforehand or sending a message? or email? perhaps the team leader running the project is not approachable at other times let alone in a large on-line meeting... Working remotely amplifies IRL working relationships - if the team relationships are good - you can get by pretty well - if the team relationships are new or a bit strained - then it is pretty challenging to work remotely and takes some active thought to remedy issues as they arise. It like a massive social experiment to see who can survive without body language!?!?

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