After suffering through a poorly run, energy draining on-line meeting the host said to me, “I agree, it wasn’t a great meeting, but we’ll do better when we sit down soon face-to-face”. What planet is he living on? It certainly doesn’t look to me like we’ll be jumping back into planes and hotels and conference rooms any time soon. The whole concept of meetings has taken on new meaning. We’ve all pivoted to online meetings. And at Betterpreneurs, we’ve proven that meaningful high-impact meetings are possible even for our clients in lower-bandwidth parts of Africa.
How do we make an opportunity out of our misfortune, or lemonade from lemons?
Recently Betterpreneurs held a series of workshops for CEOs across Africa. Back in the good old days (less than a year ago), it would have cost a prohibitive fortune in time and money to bring 15 CEOs together for a leadership retreat. Now, from the comfort of our home offices, heavy hitters from across Africa came together in a series of workshops that created real value for them. We certainly miss the conversations that happen over a beer at the bar after a day of working face-to-face, but our participants are thrilled that they can participate without taking days away for travel. We invested time in building trust—one of the keys was simply for participants to know that this was a series, not a one-off meeting. Seeing each other repeatedly online over time created an experience different from but similar to the traditional online meeting. By building on the advantages of online meetings, we got nearly the same result at a fraction of the cost, spread out over a different use of time. When you get lemons, make lemonade.
Nowadays we are doing lots of things online that we thought required face-to-face meetings and handshakes:
hiring and onboarding new colleagues, meeting new clients, negotiating new deals. Whether you are working across companies or within your company, giving thought to how to build trust and ease in the online environment can make the difference between bitter lemons or delicious lemonade.
If you want help on how to make better lemonade in these times, let me know...
Written by: David Rosenberg, Sustainability Expert