New rules for meetings


As we move around more and more,  it seems likely that some of our contact with others while away from the office is likely to be while we are in travel mode. This isn't just talking on the phone, but literally meeting more than one person at a time remotely while we are moving. One option is to refuse meeting when you are in a public space and sometimes NOT meeting is the most sensible choice, but sometimes it's worthwhile just trying to see how it goes before you pull out. 

Some of these meetings are just like listening to a podcast, so it's really only a listening experience that you need to manage, which can't be that difficult. Acoustics and having a good headset are important here. Hopefully the meeting convenor is not in a noisy coffee shop! To help with managing the sound side of things, the default seems to be that the meeting convener puts everyone on mute, which works well enough until it's your turn to speak as a participant.  Some of my colleagues were somewhat to surprised to hear bus announcements in the background of one on-the-fly conference call I joined in recently! Seriously, the sound quality can become pretty average. It seems that situational awareness is the most important thing here, but how can the meeting organiser really know what you're up to and do we really want them to know?  It can go swimmingly well though. I was recently attending a group mentoring session online while I was on a train and then the tram in Melbourne. In the introductions, I was on the train platform in Ashburton and in mute mode all the way on the Alamein line train to Parliament station and enroute to the stop for the No. 86 tram on Spring St.  When someone asked me a direct question, I thankfully could answer quickly while waiting on the tram platform.  Back on mute for the rest of the seminar and all in all, reasonably good value, at least as experiments go.

I am making as much as I can of all the different online meeting opportunities I have because I learn so much about what works and what doesn't. The rules for these meetings are not written or publicised. My train / tram experiment required some stolen moments from my day's travel schedule. You can make big mistakes by trying to meet in the wrong place or at the wrong time. Equally, never getting together can also be a big mistake. As we get busier and busier, and work with people in different time zones, these meetings are more and more likely to be out of standard hours and perhaps while we move around. What might that mean for you in your day to day job?