When is the last time you showed up to an in person meeting and politely disengaged from the conversation, multi-tasked (which we know doesn’t actually work, at least not in any deep, productive way), and occasionally politely nodded in approval?
All without adding much to the conversation, or even, saying a word at all except, “thanks, have a great week…” at the very end?
I imagine you haven’t done that recently, or ever.
Somehow that etiquette is deeply common (and apparently, accepted) in our digital meeting culture all of a sudden.
The speaker speaks for a long time, without much feedback or engagement. Asks if anyone has questions, people shake their heads no while staying silent, then we go back to our digital distractions.
When the Amazon guy comes, and the dog barks, of course, mute your mic. If you’re at the coffee shop, we get it, please mute. If your seven-year-old is melting down again (we’ve all been there), mute and go take care of him.
But, if you’re joining the meeting, turning your video on, and being with us…
(preaches to self)
Be present (turn off Slack, Email, Messages).
Be curious (ask good questions, clarify comments, get to know where someone else is coming from).
Be engaged (keep your mic on, we want to hear what you have to say).
You’re on mute.
But please don’t be.
Unless it’s really necessary, not just a way to silently disengage ever so slightly.