Digital meetings are very different to meeting in person, we miss the real essence of human connection and can miss many of the subtle cues we would have potentially picked up when being in front of someone such as body language, facial expressions and the energy/vibe of the person.

Some people may also struggle with moving from a face-to-face environment to an online environment based on their profile type (e.g. extroverts vs introverts).

It also takes real concentration and juggling act as the host or facilitator to manage a virtual ‘room’ full of people vs. an actual room full of people. You have to deal with technical challenges such as network and connectivity issues, back ground noise, people talking over each other not to mention short attention spans and the potential of suffering from digital fatigue, especially if you are moving from one online meeting to another.

So how do we go about making our digital meetings more meaningful and value adding for everyone involved?

When employees feel included, fully engaged, and encouraged to contribute, their best efforts and ideas come to light and that’s ultimately what you want whether it be virtually or face-to-face.

With the current stressful times we are experiencing, it’s important to check in with employees how they are doing, how they are coping with work/home integration, managing household and family responsibilities as well as work deliverables and most importantly what kind of support they are needing.

Empathetic leadership is critical right now as well as communication on all levels – individual, team and business and how decisions being made are going to impact employees in the long run (e.g. salary cuts, job casualties etc). Never under estimate the importance and value of human connection, even in digital meetings and digital times.

Versions of this article also appeared on The Media Online website and Lionesses of Africa websites

Paula Quinsee: Relationship Expert, Tedx speaker and author of Embracing Conflict and Embracing No. Paula teaches individuals and companies tools and skills to immediately and positively enhance the quality of their personal and organisational relationships.