Virtually Speaking – Leading Powerfully on Zoom

Dylan Stewart
Contributing Writer

Mr. Dylan Stewart, former MDI Regional Coordinator of the Atlas virtual online division, is also known in his professional world as the “MacWhisperer.” He knows his way around that sometimes confusing computer stuff. As a leader of men who were tasked with using the Zoom technology, he came up with tips for successful virtual meetings. They are provided here.

I. Technology

A. Video is critical; ensure your device has video capabilities.

B. You can use a phone or a computer.

1. On Phone
a. Prop up phone, do not hold it in your hand. You will want to use the hand later so don’t tire it out.
b. Set up the phone to be in landscape mode if possible – that is longways, the way the eyes sit on your face.

2. On computer
a. Use the Zoom App not the website.

3. Power – Make sure the device is powered up – have power cord nearby.

C. Use a microphone/headphone – Learn where the mute button is and mute if you have noise around you.

D. Leave screen in “Gallery View” so you can see everyone on the team on one screen.

E. If you share your screen, share only the part of your screen or app you want to show. Learn how to turn off share.

F. Use Chat function – You can talk to everyone or a specific person privately.

G. Use breakout rooms if desired – in this case you must have the host code. These are helpful to bring more intimacy with smaller subsets of your team.

H. Learn how to use participant screen for raising hands. This will help keep your meeting in order in case there is a larger circle and men wish to participate.

I. If you have bad Internet and your computer is not working well, use your phone for audio instead of your computer.

J. Have no other digital distractions – Quit all unnecessary apps on your device. Put your devices on “DND” – On a Mac click the notifications bar. Put your Zoom window on full screen.

II. Logistics

A. Two hours is a long Zoom call. Keep it to that time period, since any longer has diminishing returns and is not effective

B. Men signing on late is disruptive. Keep the standard of “being on time,” and handle any cleanups swiftly with the man taking care of it off camera.

C. If any man must step away, have him turn off the video so men know he is not available.

D. If video is choppy – 1. Turn off and on the video. 2. Turn off the video completely but let the men know you are still there.

III. Content

A. Check-in is critical to find out where the men are at presently.

a. Ether do a short check in with no question but a time limit.

b. Or present a specific question to support the context or content of the meeting.

B. Rituals can incorporate photos, videos, audio, web clips, etc. – Give men advanced warning about what you will need from them.

C. Sergeant of Arms needs to keep men from rambling.

D. Circle Time – Have men use the circle for themselves. Moderate men so they do not talk over each other.

a. Cannot hear if two men talk at the same time.

b. Can use “raise hand” function or chat to be the “next” speaker.

The man needing to use the circle can use four different levels for clarity of support:

a. Venting – letting a man spew without any feedback.

b. Questions and Personal Experience – letting men ask questions and offer their own personal experiences surrounding the topic.

c. Suggestions / Advice – This is where men can get away with fixing the man. Actually, this is a time when a man is open to hearing ideas around solution.

d. No holds barred – The man can be challenged in any way, shape or form.

E. Push

Team must be prepared for man who needs to do a “push” or a free expression of emotion.

a. Have a pillow available.

b. Have a man experienced in doing a push set the tone.

c. While the man is emoting into his pillow, all men hold their hands up to the screen as a sign of support.

d. When the man is finished emoting (anger, grief, etc) and looks at the screen he will feel the support of his men.

e. Now the real work begins. Ask revealing questions to help the man discover his own truth. Do not ask questions you know the answer to.

f. Allow the man to feel and process as best as possible.

g. Make time for the man to recover and heal.

h. NO JUDGMENT of the man and his process whatever it looks like.

IV. Additional

A. Be present for your full meeting like you would an in-person meeting.
B. Reach out to your men off-line. Be creative with how you do it – there are many digital tools:
a. Slack App
b. Facebook group
c. Marco Polo
d. Old-fashioned conference call
e. One-on-one Zoom calls using your team link
f. WhatsApp
g. Line App
h. Just pick up the damn phone

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