You know that little green light that we all talk to nowadays? The one on our computers that shows us we’re live on Zoom, Teams, Skype, etc? It has also acted like one helluva spotlight too. A spotlight shining unhelpfully on those previously tolerated wafflers. Good communication isn’t waffle.
We all know the type. The jolly men and women who are utterly charming. They have all the time in the world for you, for a good old chinwag. They say they’ll do something, and, well, you know, time flies and they get sidetracked. With the best will in the world, it doesn’t happen… and that used to be totally fine, because there was always a way around, and, frankly, they were so nice, you couldn’t be cross.
But that was before we had fully embraced remote working.
Now? When we have an online meeting, we want clear direction, action points, results. Forty five minutes is pretty much most people’s concentration span, so aside some initial banter, the conversation should turn to work.
And when people say they will do something – that is exactly what should happen. Of course, that, in an ideal world was always the case, but now? Absolutely vital.
In primary schools, our children are taught that if there are 3 of them in a group, they each have a third of the time to talk; If there are 4 – well, each get a quarter of the time. With online meetings, it’s difficult to kick someone under the table, or discretely signal that time is up – which gives some carte blanc to embark not on a conversation, but deliver a monologue with witnesses. (Margaret Millar)
I’m not saying that the world wasn’t a richer place when business could be done on a golf course, or over a coffee or a leisurely lunch; when a handshake wasn’t something that one only saw in films. Hopefully we will return to those heady days but, until then, it’s short sharp results-driven calls all the way.