I spoke in Boston this last week at HubSpot's #InBound2015 where I got to hang out with 14,000 high energy marketers, agency owners, and entrepreneurs. My session was "Showing Up for Your Agency: Your Presence is Your Impact". The highlights? All sorts of stuff on what leadership needs today, how our presence is what creates more of our impact than we realize, how to optimize how you show up for everyone—including yourself, and 6 things for these guys to start doing NOW, individually and as a team, to enhance the effectiveness and energy of their leadership and culture.
Of course, when I was done, there were questions. Lots of great questions. One of them was, "How do I do this stuff virtually? I'm not sure this all applies to me because we are a virtual team with offices all over the world. We're not even in the same room together." This was a theme as my visit went on, I probably had this question come up about 10 more times that day.
Your presence absolutely counts when you're not in the room, and all of this applies just as much virtually as it does when you're together... often even more so.
In my upcoming book, Contagious Culture: Show Up, Set the Tone, and Intentionally Create an Organization that Thrives (11/16, McGraw Hill), I have an entire chapter devoted to creating life-giving agreements, meetings, and engagements, and an entire section devoted to being virtual.
Here are 7 things you can do to make your presence count even more—especially when you're all over the globe. Some of these are things you can do as a team, some as an individual, some beforehand, and some during... There are hundreds of these, these seven will get you started.
- Make sure the container is set: everyone knows where they're supposed to be and when, people know what the topic is, the right people are invited, there are clear roles and accountabilities for who's leading which part in the meeting, and there is an "owner" to hold the whole container of the virtual meeting.
- Get clear on intentions for why you're meeting, what you all want to get out of it, and how you all want to show up during it. At the beginning of your meeting check in and review. Make sure you're all on the same page.
- Set agreements up front for how you want to engage. Examples of agreements include: come on time, finish on time, don't multitask, put your phones down so you can be fully present, assume good and get curious, it's okay to eat during the meeting (or it's not), if something comes up that's off topic we'll park it, no side bars, etc.
- Take 5 minutes to get present before you even get on the phone, the hangout, or any kind of pixels. Reboot your presence and set your intentions for how you want to show up, how you want to be experienced by your team, and how you want to feel.
- Make sure your space supports you; your background should be lovely, your camera should be able to see all of your face (not just your chin or forehead), the connection should be clean, and your audio should be stellar to allow for optimal presence and engagement.
- Do a presence and energy check when you get ON the call to get everyone centered and grounded and HERE. Check in on how they're feeling physically and mentally, and what's the vibe they're bringing into this meeting? Just checking in here can be a game changer. (#checkyourselfbeforeyouwreckyourself)
- Have fun with it, gratitude and delight go miles virtually. Add in time at the end for appreciation and celebrations. If you're doing something big at a main location and people are calling in for it, include the outside offices by sending them something that shows you care. (E.g. I had a client who did pizza parties, and had people call in virtually. When the party started, this client would have pizza delivered to all virtual offices as an extra treat and a bit of TLC.)
Bottom line, show up. Your presence is your impact when you're in the room and not.
Have fun with these, pick one, pick all... make up your own.
For more on this, and until the book is out, feel free to download our "Presence Guide" which include tips and tools for virtual and live meetings right here.
This article originally appeared on Inc.com on September 14, 2015.