Can You Hear Me?

“I can’t hear you.” By now you have all experienced this. You are on a videoconference and the sound (yours? theirs?) keeps cutting in and out. It’s frustrating. Maybe you fake it once or twice and give an answer that does not quite make sense. You are trying to follow, but can’t. They can’t hear you/you can’t hear them. The meeting moves on without you. The team doesn’t seem to notice or care. You can’t contribute. You feel unimportant. Excluded.

Inclusion is important now more than ever. You can’t build together, if you can’t hear each other.

Now imagine, same call. The video/computer sound is cutting in and out. This is just not working. Someone suggests you all reconvene the old-fashioned way: telephone conference call/no video, so you, in particular, can participate. You dial in. You can’t see everyone, but everyone is crystal clear. You take turns talking so as not to interrupt one another. You are all communicating. Contributing. Listening. You are not using the latest tech, but you remember the point of the tech in the first place.

Inclusion requires the opportunity for people to contribute. Can everyone on your team hear you? Can you hear them? Is everyone listening? This, more than anything, decides the culture of an organization.