What are new ways of meeting with people and creating connections with them, especially when the standard ways are not working anymore?
Corona told us not to be with too many people in the office, meeting rooms or even at home. So I took a different turn instead of only meeting people via videoconference, calls or just via email.
Here are some of my personal favorites about new ways of meetings and also my learnings from these.
1. Taking a walk together
Walking-meetings are really my favorite. No matter what weather, it is always fun and takes out a lot of pressure of the meetings. I did that originally with my dates (yes, I admit it) but then realized that it also works great for work meetings during corona.
You try to find routes that fit the meeting schedule. So, I have a route that fits for a 30 min quick meeting and a 1-hour meeting. Both routes are perfect to get coffee or beer, take a nice walk, have a good discussion and then return at the starting point where everyone has easy access to transportation or parking.
My tipps how to set it up:
- Define a good starting point which is easy to explain and easy to acces
- Walk the route slowly on your own, so you have a feeling how long it might take. When you reached half of the time, then remember the spot
- Scout for take-out coffee, beer, supermarkets in the area so you can adjust the beverage for the walk depending on the time and preference of your meeting partner
- Discuss beforehand with your meeting partner what kind of beverage he likes and maybe get it before you meet
- Take advantage of the “easy” atmosphere – It is way easier to get to know people on a personal level if you meet them for a walk instead of sitting on the opposite site
2. Having a virtual drink/lunch
To be honest, this was one of the weirdest things for me at the beginning. You both switch on the video and you are having a coffee or even lunch. Looking at someone eating after you had the whole day already just video conferences doesn’t seem like something you desire but it gives you the freedom to finally disconnect from work.
I figured that we don’t take enough time for small-talk anymore. Videoconferences are quite stiff and also involve a lot of “business talk”. This format of just having a coffee or a drink, talking about the world or even having your meal together is just great because you are finally having “human conversation” again. This is also a great way to connect with a team or to celebrate some successes.
Some companies even to it regularly, they send out “lunchboxes” and everyone gathers at the same time to just have fun, discuss and have a drink.
3. Offsite workshops
I don’t think that business travel will have a big impact in the future. I guess it will be more or less the same frequency but the destinations will change a log. Instead of meeting just for business in “not-so-nice” meeting rooms, it will be more common to travel to an offsite-place in the moutains, at the beach or anywhere else to enjoy it. Especially as remote work is now finally taking off, these possibility mixes with the needs of the new digital-nomad style working environment.
4. 10-min-quick meets
A lot of people try to add me on LinkedIn every day. I try to get to know everyone of them when it sounds interesting or they expressed interest. Instead of planning for a full half hour or hour, you should also start having “quick-meetups” that you cap at 10 minutes to get a better overview of the person, what he does and if there are maybe some synergies to discuss in a future meeting.
5. Don’t-Meet or cut-down
One thing I definitely learned the most is not to meet everyone. As it is easier to meet people, it is also more of a problem now that we make a lot of meetings which are not necessary. We make video calls with many people where only 2 really talk, we set up online meetings and just work with the video on and you might know many more examples.
It was very hard for me to cut down and learn to eliminate these meetings but it was worth the struggle. I now have more time for things that matter (or just do nothing) instead of sitting in useless meetings where I just feel obliged to be there.
As we all are hoping for the end of this virtual meeting mania, I think we can also learn to appreciate the good things it brought us. Most things will turn back to the “old days” and the adaption will be low, but for those who learn more and even experience the positive side, they can learn to make the most out of it. I will definitely hold on to my meeting walks and the virtual 10-min quick meetings.