March 19, 2020
When your team needs to connect from a distance, you’ll need to change your approach to ensure that you keep people’s attention, that everything gets done, and that no one feels left out.
When you work in-person with a team, there are numerous opportunities throughout the day to stop, chit-chat, and connect.
These informal conversations and connections help build strong relationships that carry over into meetings and projects boosting engagement and encouraging open dialogue and a safe space for critical feedback.
Remote team members don’t always have the opportunity to engage in those situations, which is why team leaders have to be proactive and create them.
Before making virtual meetings a part of your team’s schedule, it’s important to get everyone comfortable with communicating with each other.
A fun way to build rapport? Build a virtual watercooler!
Create a communal place online where team members can get to know each other and connect outside of meetings.
A virtual watercooler can be a specific place (like a Slack or Google Chat channel). As long as it connects your team before meetings begin, it will help create the environment for successful virtual meetings.
Virtual meeting must-dos:
Set a meeting agenda
For every virtual meeting, it’s important to create a clear meeting agenda that includes:
- Talking points
- Meeting structure/timing
- What team members should bring or know for the meeting
- Any relevant slideshows, documents, files, research, etc
Set a clear meeting agenda (and send them to your team at least 24 hours in advance)!
Follow these basic etiquette tips during your virtual meeting:
- Introduce everyone during the meeting (if they don’t already know each other)
- Give everyone a chance to speak
- Don’t look at your phone while other people are speaking
- Don’t interrupt other people when they’re speaking
- Test all technology (including camera/video, Wi-Fi, and screen sharing) before the meeting
- Read the agenda, and come prepared
- Don’t work on other tasks (like checking email) during the virtual meeting
- Turn off all notifications and make sure your cell phone is on silent
- Make sure all team members are in a quiet area free from unnecessary noises and distractions
- Keep your video on mute while others are talking to reduce background noise and distraction
Make time for casual conversation
A few minutes of friendly chit-chat before diving into a meeting can really build positive relationships and keep the team engaged when the conversation moves to business.
Give everyone a job
Not having clear direction for each team member is the fastest way to kill team engagement. Before the meeting, make sure everyone on the team has a job to do (take notes, write down team questions, manage the slide show, etc) this allows them to take an active role in the meeting and makes them feel like part of the team. Without having an active job to do your team members are being passive listeners and can quickly lose interest.
Pay attention to everyone in your meeting
It’s important to keep everyone engaged during remote meetings, including your quieter team members who might not feel comfortable being vocal or outspoken.
If there are people in the meeting who are less comfortable speaking up, organize the meeting in a way that gives everyone an equal chance for their voices to be heard. Try giving everyone five minutes to share an insight or experience they’ve had around the meeting topic.
Use these tips to stay motivated and keep up momentum!
posted 1 year ago