Work From Home Is Here To Stay: Facilitating Powerful Meetings
This excerpt from Jerry's book, 7 Tips for Leading Remote Teams, discusses a few ways to organize inspiring virtual meetings.
Working remotely means we don’t have the privilege of being with the whole person in our interactions. How can we get the most engaged and productive experience?
Before the meeting, clarify what you are trying to achieve and who needs to be there. Will our group dynamic benefit from a real-time interaction right now? What do I want the outcome of this meeting to be? Why and how do other people need to be involved? Which people or points of view do I particularly want to hear from?
Send out a meeting agenda and related materials before the meeting. Especially the quieter, more introverted team members will benefit from being prepared so that if they are asked upon, they’ve had time to think about it.
Especially for the more important meetings, consider doing a “dry run.” It’ll help you iron out and clarify what you want to say or get done. And have a plan B if the technology fails. Maybe it’s a PDF version of a PowerPoint or whatever can help you save time if something doesn’t work.
“Set the stage” and consider what your background, lighting, camera position, etc., is going to be.
Establish roles beforehand. Who is going to be the timekeeper? Who’s taking notes? Maybe even appoint a meeting tech “czar” who is familiar with the technology and can help people having trouble.
At the opening of your meeting, start with a statement of purpose and set the right tone. Look directly at the camera, not the screen. You should keep your notes just off-center, near the camera, so you’re not constantly facing away from your team members. Speak a little louder and vary your overall volume.
Keep participants engaged in the conversation to help bridge the in-person versus remote gap. You can incorporate various tools (like polls, Mentimeter, virtual whiteboards, etc.) or activities. And it also doesn’t need to be you that brings some life into the meetings. You can appoint different people to help keep things fresh.
Hear from everyone. Set the expectation that everyone is welcome to contribute. Call on people with expertise that have not spoken or seem distracted.
End with a clear commitment to action for individuals and the whole group. Enjoy!