The End of the Mute Button

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We talk a lot about how we’re working more and more virtually. And there is a lot of conversation around how to improve how we work with each other in a virtual environment. Yes it’s going to take us time to crack this nut. Largely this is because our current policies and procedures were developed for boomers who work in cubicles and spend a lot of time in meetings. Luckily, we have a whole new generation hitting the workforce who are more in tune with working virtually.

In the meanwhile, Keith Ferrazzi writing in HarvardBusiness.org offered a few interesting pointers including a call to limit the mute button. In “How Virtual Teams Can Create Human Connections Despite Distance,” he notes that it encourages disengagement and – perhaps worse – the ensuring dead air “kills any attempt at humor and eliminates the bonding value of shared laughter.”

He offers in this post how to “move your team to a new set of behaviors, not just to a new generation of technology, with human engagement as the first priority.” In addition to the mute button suggestion, he offers that each group needs a Yoda to add a bit of levity. Read the post for more ideas.

While you’re retooling your group work habits, here’s a list a resource for updating your web technology: 2014 Best Web Conferencing Service Reviews. Not on the list but two tools I’ve been experimenting with are Speek (which offers a tool without the need for video) and Spreecast.

What ways do you spice up the traditional call?

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