It’s no secret that today’s workforce has seen a major shift to remote work practices as many of our homes now function as hybrid offices. As everything goes digital, so do our interactions with our team and coworkers. In-house team meetings have transformed into remote team meetings.
CEOs and managers typically hold monthly, perhaps even weekly, meetings to align the team, review progress, and plan for the future. As important as these meetings are, they are now being held virtually. Since online meetings are quite different from your traditional, face-to-face meetings, leaders need to adapt and think strategically to engage the team throughout this online experience.
As this is a mostly a new, yet rapidly growing concept, there are some changes to which we must adjust. Most importantly, retaining and engaging your team members would be more challenging in a virtual environment, yet there are many things you can do differently, to overcome that challenge. Actions as simple as enabling an open chat box, asking questions, and starting off with a short game, can set the tone for a great online experience.
Let’s discuss how to get your team excited about work, even if that means behind a screen.
All of us used to work together in the same office. It is not surprising that people want to have some time to chat and see what is going on with the rest of the team. That’s what check-ins do. They are used to keep the feeling that teams are still together, the team spirit feeling. They help to know how everybody is doing. They also make sure that everybody is on the same page regarding their work. It helps to create a feeling of togetherness.
Send agenda beforehand
Connecting all the team is difficult. When the remote team meetings start, it is not wise to waste time on sharing documents. It is much better to send the plan before the meeting, so everyone will read it and come prepared. The planning can be discussed and commented on during the gathering. By arranging it, your team will not spend time thinking about an idea. They will come with ideas.
Make the remote team meeting interactive
Try to make remote team meetings as interactive as possible. The more people are doing something during their meeting, the better. Workshop and whiteboard tools can be used, as well as some visuals. QAs are also an excellent idea. There can be a break between each segment of the meeting for QAs, instead of just having one at the end.
Set goals of the remote team meeting
Another top-secret for keeping your remote team engaged during meetings is to set clear expectations for each participant and the meeting in general. Having clear goals and expectations will engage the participants to achieve that goal. It will help the team not to think abstractly or get off track. It will also keep them concentrated on the required tasks and concrete expected outputs.
Identification also plays a significant role in remote team meetings. It is a good idea for everybody to introduce themselves before speaking and giving their comments. If there are not many participants, you can present them all. It will help other participants identify the voice to the name and the face if the video is on. The situation is even more complex if some of the participants have always been a remote worker. Then, it would be good to have a casual video chat among key office colleagues to get to know each other better.
Always try to ask questions during the meetings. It is also the case during face-to-face meetings. Instead of asking what do you all think, you could ask what do you think, Michael? this is good practice. When the participants know that they might be next to answer a question, they will give their best to be engaged. Even if you get yes or no answers, it is still better than no activity.
For everything to work smoothly, you as the host should come prepared. This preparation includes going through the content once again, setting up and testing all the equipment and tech you will use, checking the lighting, and doing a pilot/checkrun. It is also crucial to have plan B for the most critical aspects of the meeting. Do not forget that you need to make attendees want to participate.
Virtual coffee breaks
Taking short coffee breaks in offices has proven to boost motivation, engagement, and productivity. This is the reason why introducing virtual coffee breaks on remote team meetings has proven to be effective. These breaks are usually short (10-15 minutes). During these video calls, colleagues come together to chat and have a small talk over a cup of coffee or tea.
Set the rules for the remote team meetings
Setting up the rules and informing the participants beforehand is another excellent idea to boost the success of the meeting. Uncontrolled meetings, face-to-face or remote, are not productive, and they do not boost productivity. Everybody talking at the same time creates chaos. The rules should limit the time for participants to speak to prevent anyone from dominating. This control of participates and timing can be monitored by the head of the meeting but it is important for others to be aware of these rules and standard virtual courtesy.
Keep it short
When having remote team meetings, try to make them short and on point. Avoid talking about many different topics and ideas in the same call. It is also a good idea to inform participants at the beginning about how long the meeting should be. It is worth mentioning that the attention span in virtual meetings is much lower than in face-to-face meetings. The best-case scenario is that the participants will follow and be engaged in the meet for 30 minutes. Everything more than that, try to include the secret number 8.
The biggest challenge for remote team meetings is to keep your team interested and engaged. The secrets mentioned above will help you during your next gathering. It is also pivotal to think outside of the box and figure out what works best for your team. You might even ask your team what to use in the future and what would be interesting for them. The engagement from the meetings keeps the team connected and productive. Finally, it is always a good idea to keep the cameras turned on. AladdinB2B is a leading platform for B2B meetings, conferences, and trade shows. Contact a genie to help you enhance your experience at your next event with structured and qualified B2B meetings.