Today’s Top Tip – Teams do their best work when people feel they can raise questions, concerns, and ideas without fear of repercussion.
But this psychological safety can be hard to create in virtual meetings, where detecting nonverbal social cues can be difficult and distractions are everywhere. The good news is that videoconferencing offers some simple but effective tools to help. Your software probably has a polling function that can give everyone on the team an opportunity to be heard. You can even make these polls anonymous to help people express their feelings and opinions without fear of being singled out.
Similarly, encourage your team to use the chat function if they’re more comfortable contributing nonverbally. And think about whether every meeting needs to be a video meeting — a classic conference call may allow for better listening and make people feel less self-conscious.
But if you do choose audio-only, be sure not to interpret silence as agreement. Follow up with a summary of the meeting to make sure that everyone is on the same page — and check in individually with anyone who seemed disengaged or reticent to contribute.
Adapted from “How to Foster Psychological Safety in Virtual Meetings,” by Amy C. Edmondson and Gene Daley