Life is full! Wonderful. This can make fitting in the things we want and need to do difficult. Having been a Volunteer Leader for 10 years, I would like to share what I am going to call my PVLC7 (yes, I borrowed it from AADE7 – which stands for Preparing for a Virtual Leadership Call). They are 7 suggestions for getting the most out of a virtual leadership call which can ultimately prepare you for a fulfilling, productive leadership experience.
- Plan ahead. Life doesn’t always provide the luxury to plan ahead. Still, strive to make it your standard. The more we prepare and plan, the smoother life goes. It also will provide you more energy and focus to handle last minute problems that arise. Suggestions #2-5 are more detailed recommendations for getting organized.
- Identify meeting dates. Learn when they are and enter them on your calendar –all of them! I made this mistake early on. I would enter a call into Outlook, but not on my paper calendar. Yes, I still use paper. I check my paper calendar every night before bed. It helps me stay on track. If you prefer using technology, consider entering calls into your iPhone calendar and program an alert for the day before the call or even couple hours prior.
- Print off the agenda. The agenda has more than just the topics of discussion. It also includes the date, time and dial-in number with passcode. If you are not able to log in via Teams on your computer, you will have everything you need on paper to simply phone-in.
- Print a copy of the slides. If slides are available for a meeting, print them off. This is extremely valuable when you participate in a call exclusively by phone — or when your computer decides to give you difficulty logging on (been there). If you are going to present on a call — this is SO incredibly important. When technology fails, paper can be your best friend.
- Do the homework. At times, calls will include readings to prepare you for the meeting. Print them off as well and give them a quick read. This will safeguard a deeper understand of the agenda items and will enable meaningful discussions. Have questions? Write them down as you read and ask them during the call. If time permits, consider doing some background reading on the topics being discussed. Log on to ADCES Connect and learn all you can about the agenda item. It will give you a deeper insight into call conversations.
- Be time zone savvy. Meeting reminders are often sent with one time zone. ADCES is in Chicago, so most calls are communicated as Central Time. Calls that are sent as an Outlook invite, if you accept the invitation, it will adjust the time zone. If not using Outlook, double check what time the call is in your time zone.
- Engage. Volunteer Leaders are the heart and soul of ADCES. Your volunteer work strengthens the association and provides leadership development. National leaders often begin their leadership journey at the CB, LNG and/or COI level. To enrich this work, engage. Ask questions, post threads, share and participate in Volunteer Leadership Calls. The more you engage, the more you learn, the better leader you will be.