As more and more businesses are settling into remote or hybrid working models, leaders need to fine tune the way they do things. One of those is how they run meetings.
When meeting face to face, it’s easier for people to pick up on the energy in the room. But meetings conducted remotely need a little extra help.
When running meetings, more often than not, leaders want the people in the meeting to show up in a certain way. They don’t just want passengers, or bored looking participants, they want people in the meeting to start with a certain feeling or energy or to ‘be’ a certain way when in the meeting.
Check-in and set the right energy
One of the first things I would recommend is making it a company policy that all meeting attendees have their camera on. This makes people feel more connected and also ensures the participants are accountable and not just cleaning up their home office with the audio on (which can be tempting) or doing other tasks. For a fully engaged meeting, you want everyone engaged in the meeting without distractions, as they would be in a meeting room if conducted face to face in the office.
Secondly before diving straight into business, build a little structure around breaking the ice and getting everyone connected, warmed up and engaged. Again in an office environment this can happen organically, but it often needs to be more structured in a remote meeting setting.
Consider asking a check in question at the beginning of the meeting. Each person should have a chance to answer the question, having a turn to present their answer to the group. This is great for a small group meeting, but also for larger ones if you have the time. For larger groups, of more than 15 people or if you have limited time, you can ask everyone to connect to a certain feeling before the meeting kicks off.
A great question to ask is “what is something that made you smile recently?”. The participants will then have to think of something that made them happy and reconnect with that moment as they are telling their story to the group. This is great because there is a tendency for people to hold on to that feeling of enjoyment, happiness and warmth as they embark on the meeting. Voila, you have successfully set the right, positive energy for your meeting to take place. Not only that, but because everyone has had a turn to talk, they are more engaged in the meeting and more likely to continue to engage and contribute because they have already broken the ice or broken their silence by connecting with the group through relaying their happy moment.
Other check-in questions
Obviously, you can’t use the same question for every meeting, so here are some other excellent check-in questions and the corresponding energy, feeling or way of being they might create:
- What is a moment when you thought to yourself “That’s why I do this job! That really helped. That felt good.” – Asking this question has a way of reconnecting your participants to the bigger meaning of the work they do. It might pull people out of the day-to-day and remind them that the work they do matters, in the big picture of things. This is a great question if people are getting bogged down in the detail and losing sight of the bigger picture. This might lead to a healthy sense of perspective, reconnection to purpose, a sense of commitment and being engaged.
- What is something that is puzzling you at the moment? – This is a great question to ask in a more creative meeting where you want people to be thinking, to be curious and open to making things better. It might lead to curiosity, exploration, and a slowing down to be more analytical.
- What is a favourite sporting moment? – This kind of question could help people reconnect to a moment of elation where their favourite team won. It might lead to courage, strength, persistence, joy. Again, it’s a great one to set a positive tone and a winning energy.
- If you really knew me, you would know that … This question could lead to people being a bit more vulnerable (in a good, way. In a way that looks to better connect to others), sense of community, connection, and honesty. Once people let their guards down and show their human side, human connection is strengthened, and meeting rapport is better.
- What is a moment in your life of astonishing beauty? – This type of question could lead to participants connecting to a sense of gratitude and contentment. Another great question to create a positive energy before jumping into the meeting.
Do you have a great check in question? I’d love to hear. Could your leadership team benefit from one of my tailored workshops in 2023? Please get in touch today. I’d love to help!