At iEvolve Consulting, this week marks our first round of virtual Group Coaching sessions,

and we, like everyone out there, are adjusting to our “new” normal. Last week, as I was preparing for these sessions, I brainstormed some ways my group members could get the most out of our time together. How can we communicate most effectively? How can we leave the sessions feeling grateful? Uplifted? How can we really, truly connect with each other and ourselves? After thinking these questions over, I crafted a set of hard and fast guidelines that offer responses to these questions. These guidelines are our communication norms in our iEvolve Consulting virtual groups, and we hold each other accountable for following them. 

As you read our guidelines, think about the norms and cultural behaviors you and your organization promote. Maybe they are overt, or maybe they are unspoken and inferred. How can you start a conversation about your organization’s communication habits? Be sure to include things you are doing well and ways you could improve. 

Show Up (on video)

This guideline answers two questions: How can we communicate most effectively, and how can we really, truly connect with each other and ourselves? According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian’s Rule, 55% of communication is body language, 38% is tone, and 7% is spoken words. If 55% of a conversation is body language, we would be missing over HALF of the overall conversation by talking over the phone instead of video conferencing. In a time where everyone is seeking growth, getting the most out of every conversation is crucial. 

We would be remiss if we didn’t talk about timeliness as well. Coordinating team operations virtually means more communication which means more meetings and more video conferences. If a group is left waiting for one person to show up, the group will get delayed or cut short. Not to mention how distracting it is for someone to joining a video conference in the middle of a conversation. So, be considerate and respectful. Show up…on time and on video.

Be Real & Be Raw

This guideline answers the question: How can we leave sessions feeling grateful? Everyone is feeling a wide range of emotions…anxiety, fear, gratitude, growth, etc. This is a time where we need each other. Even though we cannot meet with people in person, we need community and others to help us all navigate how we are feeling both personally and professionally. If we show up fake and callous, we are doing ourselves and others a disservice. 

Let’s show up for our teams, co-workers, families, and friends real and raw. Let’s be bold and vulnerable during this time. Remember, perfection is the enemy of progress. Instead of aiming for perfection, let’s aim to grow deeper in our relationships and be grateful for people that help ground us during this time.

Bring Your Accomplishments

This question answers the question: How can we leave sessions feeling uplifted? I have been asking every one of my groups to share their positive accomplishments since the last time we’ve met. With such a large amount of change occurring quickly and simultaneously, it can be easy to look at the things left undone instead of the brave, bold decisions made. 

We are making a conscious effort to focus on what we have done well and let our positive actions motivate us to continue doing the next right thing and making the next right choice. Getting bogged down with the “could haves, should haves, would haves,” during this time is not helpful and can lead us down a destructive path for ourselves and our businesses. Having grace with ourselves and acknowledging the things you have done well are CRUCIAL in this situation. I am encouraging my groups to make decisions from a place of strength and peace rather than a place of fear and insecurity. Being able to acknowledge your bravery and boldness will leave us feeling uplifted.

One Word Check-In & One Word Checkout

Our last group guideline answers a different aspect of the question: How can we really, truly connect with each other and ourselves? Every virtual meeting, I ask my group members to provide their one word check-in (how they are feeling when we start the meeting) and one word checkout (how they are feeling when we end the meeting.) 

If group members are real and raw (like I emphasized earlier,) then this check-in/checkout system allows them to connect with themselves and how they are feeling. Giving honest answers allows other group members to connect with that person and feel comfortable being vulnerable as well. Vulnerability is a beautiful, self-perpetuating cycle that we could all benefit from during this time.

I hope these guidelines encourage and inspire you and your team to continue having constructive conversations about your communication norms. Be bold, be brave, be compassionate.