It used to be that every Tuesday of the week we’d have our staff meetings after the students left for the day. Now it seems that there’s some type of virtual meeting every day. As a Principal I’ve tried to avoid the things I didn’t like in zoom meetings hosted by other parties. But sometimes the glazed eyes and virtual body language of the staff as I scan the row of Brady Bunch positioned faces let me know they’ve had enough.
These three tips are helping me improve my virtual staff meetings.
Start on time and end early
This isn’t an easy thing to accomplish. Having only two or three things on the agenda makes this more attainable. With just a few items staff can anticipate logging off in a timely manner. You also have the opportunity to delve more deeply into a subject. When this happens and you have to end the discussion the staff may carry the conversation forward on their own. I’ve found that occasionally ending prior to a clear outcome creates a cliffhanger that will keep the meeting energized.
That chat box
As the leader of the staff meeting it is important to set the agenda and begin the conversation. It is even more important to be a facilitator in the meeting. Usually you have a few people who always dominate the conversation. As the principal you must make sure to guide the discussion and ask good questions. Use the chat box as a place for the introverts to place the questions and input. I use a designated chat box monitor to keep an eye on the discussion there and bring forth those ideas that aren’t necessarily vocalized.
During this time our staff are dealing with their own personal struggles. This creates even more perspectives with which to view both problems and solutions. While keeping to a tight agenda and timeline is important, sometimes sitting in a particular conversation past the allotted time is an opportunity for creativity to flourish. These are the meetings we leave feeling purposeful and connected, even a digital meeting. Having a culture that is flexible allows these slight deviations.
Endless Zoom meetings seem to be temporarily (I hope) necessary. Our meetings, at least, don’t have to be boring and repetitive. Make meetings shorter than announced, include as many perspectives as you can in the conversation by checking that chat box and be flexible.
These three tips may help you get the most out of your Zoom meetings.
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I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm the former owner of a food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......