I am now a professional mime.
When the Internet decides to be slow, in turn cutting out the audio component of a meeting I’m in the middle of with my teammates in Romania or India, the HD webcam stays rolling, like an out-of-date analogy, my face lights up, like Garry Kasparov playing chess, and my hands are all over the place, like an Italian stereotype.
I lead teams that are not in the same room, so to mitigate the 3 continents and 10.5 hours between me and, say, Vivek & Mihai, I:
- tell stories to bring people together, like how I ran into Kevin Spacey at a Starbucks
- show and tell the random things lying around our conference rooms, like little trinkets like oversized clothes pins and 3D-printed Sesame Street characters
- intonate exaggeratedly, because our budget doesn’t allow for teams to have studio-grade microphones & speakers to share speech subtleties
- apologize liberally, because I am often cutting people off since it is not always clear when somebody has finished sharing their thought because of an audio lag
- pause often, because teammates often start talking for a few seconds before realizing they have yet to unmute themselves
- insult them flatteringly, like, “oh no no please, the top of your head is so well shaped… please don’t ruin this experience by showing the rest of your face.”
- explain that what I had just said was a joke, because sarcasm does not always travel across national borders fully intact
- crack jokes, because it brings people together via laughter
I will sing and dance and still be productive so that people know that when you come to my meetings, you know you will leave with a little more funk, and your day will be a little sweeter. This is my flavour of ScrumMastery; I am a berry with a beat. My goal is for you to leave as a berry with a beat.
Oh, what joy it is to create a berry with a beat.