Remote meetings is going to take some getting used to. To speed this adjustment along, it’s important to establish consistency in your meetings so that your team knows what to expect and you can make the most of your time together.
Here are a few things you can do:
Are we ready? Take some time to iron out the kinks:
After you have chosen your preferred software platform (see Summit article on Online Meeting Software Overview), give the team time to iron out any technology glitches they may be experiencing ahead of time. Approach this learning curve with patience!
Who’s doing what? Assign Team Roles
Be clear on who’s leading the meeting (just like you would in person) and who in the meeting is available to fix and trouble shoot any glitches that might happen. It is best practice to have a group communication tool available during the meeting (such as WhatsApp) to chime in when/if anyone needs tech assistance. Remember also that most online meeting platforms have chat windows to type questions if audio and/or video is not working for a participant.
What’s on the Agenda? Set objectives for the meeting
You already have agendas that you use for in-person meetings, no need to reinvent the wheel! Using your existing agenda framework creates continuity for the team. If you want to create a new one, keep it easy to understand and easy to prep for. Some great elements to include are:
- Personnel check-in: Make it a dedicated agenda item to hear how everyone is doing (challenges, wins, emotional state) and give them time to chime in about their lives. Be sure to ask (and care about) what their daily routines now look like. This may spark some effective discussion and tips for any staff members who find working at home unfamiliar or difficult.
- Update on the status of the organization: Understandably, people may be nervous about the next few months in what they are seeing and hearing in the news and from society. The best thing you can do as their leader is be a calming influence for everyone on your team, giving them some direction and truth to hear.
- Incorporate feedback and questions along the way: Some people may find it difficult or may not want to speak up during a virtual meeting. A really good way to get over this hurdle is to add opinion ‘polls’ and intentional questions for individuals along the way to prompt necessary conversation.
Do this Daily:
This is a terrific way to start your day and give your team routine! Think of your meetings as something that people can look forward to in the morning. In the midst of this initial uncertainty with COVID-19, it may be beneficial to have more than one team meeting per day and check in with everyone in an additional virtual team meeting later in the day to give everyone a goal/deadline to work towards when trying to coordinate projects.
As your team looks to the leader to steer the ship, they will want to understand what is expected of them each day. Ensure each team member is absolutely clear on what their ‘action items’ are following the meeting, so there can be smooth sailing for everyone throughout the day.
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