7 Tips to Make Virtual Meetings Less Impersonal
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WANT TO HAVE PRODUCTIVE VIRTUAL MEETINGS WHILE STRENGTHENING PERSONAL CONNECTIONS AMONG TEAM MEMBERS?
To have effective virtual meetings, first, create strong personal connections with your team members since those bonds encourage creativity and productivity. This is important even if the team members know or are familiar with each other.
Checking in with your employees during virtual meetings is crucial to building trust and creating a comfortable rapport with the team. Here are seven tips you can use to strengthen your team’s connections during virtual meetings:
1. MAKE IT PERSONAL
Surface-level virtual check-in meetings can get tiring and make your team feel like they’re wasting time rather than making personal connections. For this reason, we recommend making more open-ended questions such as:
What are you grateful for today?
What’s something nice you’re doing for yourself this week?
What is a new habit you are trying to cultivate?
Open-ended questions can help break the ice before a virtual meeting and, at the same time, create more personal connections between employees.
2. HAVE SOME FUN
Virtual meetings with clear, engaging questions can be both fun and effective. If you want to take your personalized questions a step further, get into more ice-breaker-style questions that give your employees space to have fun and think about non-work-related topics. Some prompts could be:
Would you rather be able to read minds or see the future?
What are you binge-watching or listening to?
Describe what your alter ego might look like in an alternate universe.
Giving team members a few minutes to think about something unrelated to work before virtual meetings can also help release some stress and make them feel more comfortable with their peers.
3. ALLOW FOR PREPARATION
After giving meeting participants a prompt, give a 30-second space for them to think about their answers. This gives introverts who are participating time to prepare and minimize their anxiety, and it can also prevent extroverts from over-sharing and rambling on. More importantly, it helps people listen instead of obsessing over their answers.
4. SET A TIME LIMIT
Instruct your team to limit their responses to 10 seconds, one sentence, or one word. You must be willing to interrupt gently but firmly in support of the group. For the first-time limit violation, give a gentle reminder. If a second participant runs long, acknowledge their comment, and restate the purpose of the limit by saying something like, “Thank you for your insight, Jessica. Let’s all remember that we have eight more people to hear from and we need to keep things moving because we have a full agenda.”
5. BE INTENTIONAL
You don’t want virtual meetings to be very long as people have shorter attention spans when online. Plan meetings accordingly and be intentional when creating them to avoid repetition.
If your team meets multiple times during the day, it may seem repetitive to do various virtual meetings. Meeting hosts should plan them at a convenient time that makes sense for the team. Some good moments to have the meetings:
The first team meeting of the week.
Meetings with team members you don’t work with often.
Virtual meetings can be fun and something the team can look forward to. Try to avoid them getting monotonous.
6. TRY IT ASYNC
You can also try doing asynchronous virtual meetings. Asynchronous meetings are held over a defined period, but participants do not necessarily communicate in real-time. By creating a habit of posting a ‘Question of the day’ online, each team member can answer as they log in and start their days. Some questions could be:
Where do you most want to travel?
What movie or series would you recommend?
What does utopia look like to you?
Asynchronous meeting check-ins can be used when employees are in different time zones, working remotely in other offices, or have different schedules.
7. CREATE A SAFE SPACE
It’s crucial for virtual meeting participants to feel that they’re in a safe space. Meeting prompts should be optional, and team members have a right to “pass” if they don’t feel comfortable answering them. A safe space for virtual meetings looks like this:
Not passing judgment or criticism on anyone’s answer.
Never forcing someone to answer.
Not making it too overly personal or crossing personal boundaries.
Virtual meetings are supposed to build personal connections, not make people uncomfortable.
STRENGTHEN YOUR TEAM’S CONNECTION
Virtual meetings, when done right, can bring value to a team’s dynamic and improve office culture. When virtual meetings are engaging, they can make employees feel safe and strengthen their personal connections. A connected team cocreates a productive and healthy work environment for all. Which tips will you be using for your next virtual meeting?