I have been getting a lot of questions lately about what to do when you are teaching a class virtually, or leading a meeting on Zoom, and you simply can’t read the room. You look out and see faces staring back at you, and it’s impossible to tell if you’re getting through at all.
Often we tend to have a “show must go on!” mentality about this, pressing on with our prepared material regardless of the blank faces.
I want to suggest that, instead, you ask. Come clean about what the experience is like for you! “I want to take a moment here and check in. As I’m looking at your faces, it’s really hard to tell how this material is landing.”
Then, depending on the context, you can ask people to unmute and respond, you can launch an anonymous poll that allows people to rate how much they’re understanding, you can ask them to put in the chat one or two points of reflection or questions…
You don’t have to wonder. Ask.