Meeting online rather than face to face has some cons but many pros too.
One of the things that is more difficult remotely is being able to read peoples body language. Here we will look at how the camera, raise hand and new emoticons can be used to help improve communication.
Even with the camera switched on we don’t always pick up on subtilties the same way we would in a face to face environment. Many people don’t even switch their cameras on, whether that’s for confidentiality on group calls, work attire is less than professional, backdrop is a mess, kids are playing, poor internet connection, the list goes on and on!!
I do try to encourage attendees at training sessions to turn their cameras on during the course to help me see the look of joy when they discover something they didn’t know, bewilderment when it’s not all going to plan, to see if they are still finishing off an exercise or to check they are still in the room!! It certainly helps communication.
Another tool that has helped communication is the Raise Hand option. In a large group I use it so delegates can let me know if they have a question, although in smaller groups I suggest unmuting instead. I also use this if cameras are off for delegates to indicate if a task has been completed or if they have returned from a break. The order of the delegates changes so the earliest raised hand shows at the top of the list so questions can be answered in the order they were raised.
The icon may look like hand on its own or is accessed using the same icon as the emoticons mentioned below.
Now, these may not have landed with you yet but the raise hand icon now has 4 new options to show emotion in the meeting. You may have seen this used in Facebook lives in a similar way.
There are 4 emoticons:
As a meeting attendee you click on the icon when you feel that way and the presenter knows that they are doing something right. With larger groups this can be particularly helpful. Maybe over time other options will be added.
If you’ve enjoyed reading about how to communicate best when using Microsoft Teams, there’s some other blogs below that you might find useful: