Three reasons not to run your own webmeetings

Aug 28 2012 by Wayne Turmel Print This Article

One of the common excuses people use for not using web platforms like GoToMeeting or WebEx for team meetings is that it's too much work to run the technology, keep to the agenda, facilitate discussions and not have blood ooze out of your ears all at the same time.

I have two things to say about this. First, suck it up, you're a manager now. Secondly, you're right, it's a lot of trouble - so don't try to do it all yourself.

That might seem a bit facetious, and a bit contradictory, but I'm deadly serious. Just because it's "your meeting" doesn't mean you have to do everything yourself. In fact, here are three good reasons you shouldn't run the whole meeting yourself:

1. Use it as a developmental opportunity for your team members
Running a meeting is a key skill for anyone looking to become a leader. These days, so is the ability to use common web communication tools. By asking people to assist you in running these meetings you can teach them the basics of putting together and running a good meeting (things like a decent agenda and prepping for discussions) as well as taking some of the load off yourself.

If this makes you feel less guilty, you can file it under "delegating for development", which is what all the HR guides say you should be doing anyway. Lift some of the pressure off yourself and satisfy your performance development plan at the same time. That's efficiency.

2. You'll find you have better conversations if you can actually, you know, focus
I'm on your side here. It's actually physically arduous to try and listen effectively while typing, moving slides or hoping to heaven the technology is working. So here's an idea: don't even bother. Really.

Trying to type, listen and spell correctly on a white board is a fool's errand. Ask another attendee to take care of the grunt work (like using the White board) so you can do what you know adds the most value - calling on people, clarifying statements and getting the best input you can.

3. Help your team get to know each other better which will lead to better communication
Having a different team member serve as "host " for each meeting actually addresses some common team problems. We all know that remote teams don't always know each other, and too much time is spent in meetings in status updates and administrivia. By having a different team member (or even team) serve as cohost for the meeting, you can put them in the spotlight. Instead of doing updates on every team, every time, maybe the host team gets their moment to shine. Teams thrive when they know that others on the team are competent and motivated.

This is a way for each member over time to prove themselves to their teammates. This not only gives you some breathing room, but has long-term teambuilding benefits as well.

I know that you work really hard and try to be self-sufficient. I applaud that, but here's a chance to make your load a little lighter while actually doing some of the team and personal development you know you should be doing anyway.

You're welcome. Just trying to help.

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About The Author

Wayne Turmel
Wayne Turmel

Wayne Turmel is a speaker, writer and co-founder of The Remote Leadership Institute. He's passionate about helping people present, sell and lead people and projects using today's virtual communication technology. His books include The Long-Distance Team - Designing Your Team for Everyone's Success. Wayne is based in Chicago, IL.