After reading through the article Power Dynamics and Inclusion in Virtual Meetings written by one of the speakers, Evelyn, I recalled two articles written by Richard Bartlett, Hierarchy Is Not the Problem…, and 11 Practical Steps Towards Healthy Power Dynamics at Work. The first article talks about power dynamics within the context of an organization. The second article talks about practical steps to work with these power dynamics. Both impressed me when I explored this subject a while back. Virtual meetings perhaps place an extra lens on top of some baseline power dynamics for the parties involved.
I think meetings (in-person or virtual) can be a good training ground for practicing. The advice to check-in with the group corresponds highly to Richard’s step 3: Create Practice Spaces. Also, the point about making meetings more inclusive made me think about Richard’s step 7: Name the levels of engagement. Richard considers ‘engaging everyone’ to be an endless task. From Evelyn’s article, meetings that are more inclusive means participants have direct impact to meeting goals and outcomes. From my perspective, participants can operate at different levels of engagement in a meeting. Higher impact to goals and outcomes is a reasonable result of higher level of engagement, but we can pair engagement with accountability. The advice of committing to sending out notes after a meeting is an example of accountability. The advice of conveying the meeting goals and purpose is also a form of accountability, so people can know beforehand whether or not to participate, and how engaged or prepared one wants to be.