What became clear very quickly was that we cannot tell others what to do and, while we might ask others to turn off all other apps and devices when in online meetings, we have little chance of checking that it is done.
So, what can we do to inspire greater presence and enhanced interactions, the kind of total focus seen in a lioness on the hunt?
We came up with five suggestions:
- A quiet mind
Once a meeting or session topic has been shared, let other people talk first, to share their experiences, perceptions and points of view. This gives the best chance for them to unload and then of having a quiet mind thereafter.
When we as leaders start to talk, we should try to match the pace of others initially and then slow ourselves down to ‘mirror and pace’. This can create and inspire greater presence.
- Eye contact
Working online with others can make proper eye contact difficult, but it is so important for creating connections. To encourage people to look at the camera and make eye contact, take a moment and wait in silence until they do, to ensure you’ve got their attention.
Aim to sit in a place of compassion and offer people unconditional support, whoever they are. See how sitting in this energy creates an environment for miracles to unfold.
- Contract (or recontract)
Check that people are able to dedicate their time and attention fully for the duration of the expected period, to reach the desired outcome.
It can be difficult to inspire greater presence when working in an online environment than when sitting in a room, but by focusing on our own behaviour as a leader and helping to create the right conditions for others to ‘show up’ too, the difference will be palpable.