This is the new normal. With the pandemic taking its toll on human beings, typical ways of dealing with one another have changed. Social distancing, protecting oneself from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease that has encouraged the wearing of face masks, and avoiding handshakes even when meeting people for the first time, have been the new steps taken by everyone in the last six months or so. These have not only been observed in the normal life setting but also within the workplace.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), “the global pandemic may increase stress exponentially.” It is causing people worry and anxiety. In an article written by the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) in April 2020, “Nearly 7 in 10 employees indicated in a survey by mental health provider Ginger that COVID-19 pandemic is the most stressful time of their entire professional career, which has aligned with stark increases in new prescriptions of antidepressant, antianxiety, and anti-insomnia medications.” With all the deliverable and tight deadlines that an employee is required to meet amid this unprecedented event, at minimum, it is both desirable and obliging to keep meetings less stressful than they could be sometimes. Being unable to express one’s opinion and making a point across in virtual meetings effectively, employees and even leaders have to make extra efforts to not be misunderstood and become emotionally drained. As employers and company executives battle to keep their companies afloat, difficult business meetings could have intense mental and emotional effects too.
Problems in meetings are summarized by these four categories as stated in the book, “Dealing with Difficult Meetings You Can’t Stand” by Dr. Rick Brinkman. Those are Preparation (e.g. unclear agenda, kicking meetings off with unplanned topics or those that do not concern everyone), People (e.g. attendees not participating enough, personality clashes, people who like to talk but do not listen, and those who exercise control over discussions), Process (e.g. poor process or the lack thereof, being active on social media during meetings, unnecessary discussions, and running discussions again for attendees who show up late), and Time (e.g. arriving late, extended meetings, and countless meetings). For people who consider time and mental health of great importance as ingredients to maintaining balance and being productive at work, these common pitfalls are not only taxing but are also roadblocks to getting things done efficiently.
The next question is how we can overcome such challenging meetings. Everyone, including the meeting leader, has to always add value to any assembly. This is what FGC+ upholds in both internal and client meetings. When one always thinks of value, he can never go wrong. These are ten golden practices that can help you in your next meeting.
In these trying times, we all have the responsibility to help alleviate the difficulties that we, our colleagues, and team members experience. Everyone has responsibilities to fulfill and if we work from home all day long, virtual meetings become the only official venue to see, hear, a