Keep Your Remote Meetings Engaging

May 21, 2020

As our work environments have shifted to remote formats from our home offices (or kitchen tables), it can be difficult to keep up with regular check-ins with teams. It is important, though, to keep these meetings going—and possibly more important than ever to understand the tasks, insights, and concerns of each team member.

Mix up remote meetings

If you are not currently holding remote meetings or checks-ins, consider scheduling those soon and on a regular basis. We know from internal communications best practices and effective writing strategies—in or out of a crisis—it is timely, accurate, and transparent communication that helps maintain organizational engagement and employee commitment.

Below are ways to not only keep in touch with employees, but also create more meaningful remote meetings:

  • Keep regularly scheduled virtual meetings short and focused on a simple agenda and watch for “Zoom fatigue,” when participants feel drained by the experience.
  • Provide opportunities for team members to speak during the meeting. Meeting hosts can ask opening questions and encourage participants to unmute their audio for the first few minutes for small talk or icebreakers. Check out these virtual icebreakers for inspiration.
  • Ask for feedback from teams and open up lines of communication. This technique requires hosts to embrace a few moments of silence to encourage conversation. Hosts can also “go around the table” so everyone has a chance to speak.
  • Improve team or individual meetings by asking participants what they like and dislike about the meetings and be prepared to adjust as needed.
  • Get a theme going every once in a while. This could include asking teams to participate by wearing U of M colors, or even having a virtual background theme or competition. Capture your meeting photo, with permission from everyone, and share on your college or unit social media channels, tagged with #UMNProud.

What are other ways your team or department has kept meetings engaging? Share with us at internalcomms@umn.edu.

If you would like more guidance on communicating with faculty and staff, contact Christie Wells or Meagan Pierluissi in University Relations.