One thing that has really struck me about running audio meetings is how easy it is for a meeting to descend into polite confusion. There are, indeed, some subtle changes that can either make or break a meeting held in this environment.
An obvious observation is to underestimate the time needed for the technology, Internet, routers, security to complete all their connecting processes. Downloading, uploading, handshaking, firewall checking will all add to the time.
On the other hand, it stuck me that it could be similar to walking over a bridge.
When I was a student in London the daily question was to decide what route I would take between my student digs and the lecture theatre. I had several options. But there was one defining landmark that was very important. It was the River Thames. Crossing this majestic river was like passing from one world to another. A way of clearing the world of the personal and focusing or re-adjusting my mind to my study. I liked standing on the bridge and enjoying the flowing stillness in-between. Hovering in a sort of fertile void.
I took this thinking into my workplace and, while walking to a meeting room, I would consider the river between my desk (conveniently secured by my in-tray) and the new discussion planned for the meeting (image of clouds is irresistible). The journey giving me time to pause in my mind… unless I was late!
Now, with the immediacy of technology, what can I do to keep a pause, some stillness, between all this on-line activity? Yes, it occurred to me that I could build in some time to reflect as part of my preparation for a meeting. But, I rather like the idea that technology’s busyness gives me time to walk over the bridge.
Time taken to pause, even if it is a few seconds, can be valuable. It could be the difference between a good idea and a great idea in your next meeting.