online meetings

Please interrupt me!

This post originally appeared on the Team.Video blog.

At Team.Video, one of our founding principles is “be inclusive.”

In life, and in video meetings, there are folks who are more and less inclined to speak. Sometimes folks get excited, and have a lot to say about a topic. It can be hard in video meetings for others to find a place to interject, whether to voice agreement, ask a clarifying question or offer an alternative view. One might wait for a natural pause, reach for the un-mute button, take a moment to consider their words and find that the conversation has moved along.

The more people on the call, the harder the decision gets — whether it’s worth the interjection to voice agreement or skepticism, or whether to abstain and let things take their course.

The easy thing to do, even for the extroverts, is to stay quiet. But in order to make the best decisions we can, it is vitally important to hear dissenting opinions. By staying quiet and not interrupting, while we let the meeting sail along, we might miss the best outcome.

Team.Video brings subtle (and not so subtle) cues into the conversation, to encourage participation from all, trying to leave behind the anxiety that comes with deciding when to speak up.

Non-verbal reactions are the core, here. The infographic above is a stylized rendering of the real data for our own team over the last three weeks. Thumbs up is by far our most common non-verbal reaction. It’s a natural way in a video meeting to do the equivalent of a conversational “yup”, or head nod. The second most common usage is in hand raising. No more missing the moment when you have an important contribution. Hand raising is persistently visible on one’s video feed until it is lowered.

As thoughtful humans, we’re also sometimes conflicted. This was a position that was previously held by body language and facial expressions, which we’ve promoted to a first class non-verbal feedback in Team.Video.

There are more non-verbal cues in the call interface, including direct feedback that is only visible to the human you send it to, such as “I’m ready to move on”.

Come give it a try. We think you’ll find that by having non-verbal feedback as a first-class feedback mechanism you will have more natural, efficient and inclusive meetings.

Team.Video works best when we hear from you. What techniques do you use to draw the best input from your team, today?

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