This is the age of Virtual Teams.
Using Video conferencing, Skype, Chats , Teleconferencing have become the norm in most of the Global Organizations. In fact these are promoted as they save time and money and can be as effective as face-to-face meetings – if used correctly.
Of course Ground Rules have to be set . Things like No multitasking, having a fixed meeting agenda, starting and ending on time, respect for diverse culture have to be followed.
But even after taking care of all the factors, the main disadvantage or if I may say the lacunae of virtual teaming is the lack of personal touch.
We miss out on the important aspects of the body language – the smile on the lips, the tweak of the cheeks and the hurt in the eyes. I attend and conduct several video conferences and have to join teleconferences almost everyday and I have found out that if you can make “His Dog the Team’s Dog”, a lot of barriers of the lack of personal touch is broken.
Let me elaborate.
One day, while attending the teleconference, Tim’s dog started howling. The people in the teleconference went silent for a few seconds and then the conference continued as if nothing had happened. Just after concluding the meeting , before the “Byes” , Susan asked Tim “Hope your Dog is OK ....".
And this started the conversation around Tim’s Dog. Almost everyone quipped in and this went on for about 5-7 minutes.
But these five minutes were the Golden Minutes.
The team shared thoughts about their pets , gave tips and a very personal bridge was made between the team members.
In the next meeting, the first question asked was “Tim, How is your Dog ? “
His Dog was now the team’s Dog !
So, do not be ashamed if you are attending a teleconference or a video conference from your home and your door bell rings. And neither should you feel awkward if you hear someone’s baby crying.
In fact, take advantage of such instances and create a personal bond.
Try it !