June 24, 2021 | Danica Arthur-Asante
Whether you’re a Teams or Zoom aficionado, we’ve all had no choice but to indulge in the filters and functions of telecommunications. Now, I will be the first to admit that at the beginning of 2020, I happily welcomed the indefinite working from home lifestyle. Bring on the all-day pyjamas and Antiques Roadshow background noise.
I’m a Developer, and an introvert. Whilst some may interpret that to mean that I do not enjoy the company of others, that’s quite untrue. I recharge differently, my role is not the most overt in communication, and I may not always be the loudest in the room. In the world of Brew, we’re a fun bunch. A wild mix of personalities, extroverts, introverts, and omniverts alike, but somehow when we reduce everyone to a 3:2, 2D representation on a screen, communication can break down.
There are many camps to Zoom conduct: maybe you’re a Serial Unmuter. You toggle your mute button waiting to jump in with your contribution, until Kevin from Marketing nabs your point. You settle for a nod-along instead.
Or maybe you’re The Coaxer – “How does everyone else feel about what Kevin has said so far?” You try your best to get the discussion flowing. Desperate to facilitate democracy, you’re met with blank stares, wondering if you’ve frozen once again.
You could be the Superspy. The camera is turned off, you chime in with an occasional “yep” or “yes”. You appear as a blank screen with your full name, and no one really knows whether you’re there or in Aldi.
After the realisation that this was going to be the routine for more than a couple of weeks, even I had grown tired of hearing “Sorry! You’re on mute” and “Can you hear me okay?”. But the show had to go on! Frustration built, and I was tired of reserving contributions to typing them up later on Slack, or hearing later what some of my teammates had talked themselves out of mentioning earlier. The truth was that as much I love the solace of recharging on my own, some things just weren’t working.
The group Zoom call emboldens the already bold and mutes the quiet.
The truth is as introverts we just don’t always have our voices heard. And in the 2D dimension, it’s twofold. Not only are our issues going unvoiced but our expertise and insights are going unheard. This is not helping us or our teams.
What is really needed is a system that equalises, perhaps even democratises, the conference call. At Brew we find the Decision Sprint does the job.
The Decision Sprint is a series of activities organised in a workshop designed to identify problems, discover potential solutions and then decide and plan how to act on them. In a Decision Sprint it’s not about volume, but purely ideas and insights.
In the past year of constant conference calls I’ve found myself less heard than ever. Decision Sprints change that. We get so much more done, and meetings invites don’t prompt dread!
I’m an introvert, Decision Sprints empower me.
Fuel your team now.