In an era of remote working and online meetings, some of us may be struggling to successfully adapt with how to start a remote meeting. This is in large part due to the fact that with remote work the dynamics are different than in person, and participants likely reside all over the country, or even across the globe.
In remote meetings, it’s likely that many members have never met face to face - perhaps they haven’t met on camera either. There can be a sense of uncomfortability present during a remote meeting if it isn’t handled correctly. Having a team meeting allows remote workers to come together and accomplish tasks and goals, so it’s critical they are well managed. If you find yourself wondering how to creatively and positively start a remote meeting, you’ve come to the right place.
1. Introduce All Participants
As mentioned above, in remote work, it’s not uncommon for team members to have never met one another. That, along with the fact that not all members will be presenting or speaking during the meeting, makes it that much more important to introduce everyone who is attending the meeting. If someone is never acknowledged, they may not feel included, and as a result may be uncomfortable about potentially speaking up.
When you open the meeting, make sure to take the time to stop and introduce everyone. You don’t necessarily need to give everyone too much time to say hello, but this simple step ensures that everyone feels comfortable and included. It will also lead to more responsiveness from each member once the meeting commences.
2. Catch Up With Each Participant
Just because remote workers don’t frequently see one another doesn’t mean they can’t be friendly. Make sure to check in with your participants and see how they’re doing. They may have exciting news to share with everyone such as a big win in their department, or they may express that they need help with a given assignment or project. By opening this door of communication, you’re making your participants feel more comfortable and welcome. This also gets the conversation flowing and makes participants feel more at ease as a team. This conversational feel will flow into the content of the meeting itself and it will be more productive as a result.
3. Utilize an Ice Breaker (or Two)
Ice breakers are incredibly beneficial to starting a meeting - especially for longer meetings. An ice breaker is an activity, game, or question that prompts all of the participants to respond. The goal of using an ice breaker is to ease tension and allow members to feel more comfortable/at ease. They’re meant to be fun and light hearted ways to get people to be communicative.
Once participants feel comfortable speaking with one another, anxieties about the meeting will ease. Ice breakers are great ways to help prepare participants for the meeting by keeping their spirits up. Check out our recent post to learn about the top five ice breakers (link to article 1).
4. Present the Goal of the Meeting
Setting the purpose and tone for a meeting is incredibly important. Presenting an agenda helps to ensure each team member is prepared for what is to come. Sharing the goals and intentions of the meeting allows everyone to be on the same page, and know what they’re expected to do. It can help ease tension, and ensure all topics that need to be addressed are covered as well.
5. Encourage Participants to Ask and Answer Questions
This step is incredibly important! Before getting into the content of the meeting, be sure to encourage participants to ask questions and speak up if they have something to add. This shows members that they are welcome to voice concerns and/or ideas, and that they don’t need to silently listen to the meeting content.
Stating this in the beginning will help the flow of the meeting and will keep it from being stale. If one person speaks the entire time, members may become bored or uninterested in what is happening. By encouraging communication, team members will be more likely to ask questions and share more about the various subjects discussed as well as bring up specific points related to their individual work.
Starting a remote meeting doesn’t have to be difficult or scary as long as you’re prepared! Keep these five creative ways to start a remote meeting in mind as you prepare for your next one. You’ll find that using these tips will help your meeting run more smoothly and productively. And, when you’re ready to host your next remote meeting, make sure you do it with Taggg. Our software makes it easy to run a meeting any time, with anyone. Get started free, and learn what Taggg can do for you and your team.