Virtual team meetings can be incredibly effective when they’re done right – and disastrous to team morale and productivity when managed poorly. Manage the virtual meeting properly to ensure you get the maximum benefit for your team.
In a virtual meeting you may have some people sitting around a teleconference table while other people are joining remotely from their own computer. Everyone is on the web conference, so it’s not a problem. Right?
All too often, the virtual participants feel a sense of isolation because they’re at a disadvantage. They can sense when their co-located colleagues are enjoying a communicative advantage, engaging in whispers, side conversations and verbal cues.
That sense of isolation leads to:
- lack of participation
- distractibility and multitasking
- low morale
In this 3-part series, we’ll take a look at some of the top tips you can put into place to have the best virtual team meeting… ever!
Manage the Virtual Meeting
Virtual Team Best Practice #2: Celebrate Success
This best practice is all about generating the kind of goodwill and understanding that high-performing teams rely on to overcome interpersonal challenges. Every team encounters the occasional communication breakdown or productivity bottleneck, and having a firm appreciation for each member’s contributions helps to support one another in those moments.
For co-located teams, this kind of goodwill is easier to generate – colleagues can drop by each other’s desk and have impromptu conversations that casually reinforce their value to the team. Virtual workers tend to engage with each other only when the work calls for it. As a result, virtual managers can build those moments into team meetings.
Two tried and true methods:
- While You Are Waiting: At the beginning of your virtual meeting have people share a success or challenge they have had during the week. This ‘while you are waiting’ exercise encourages your team to build relationships in an informal way. Sharing a success or challenge can deepen levels of trust and encourage cooperation and mutual support among your team members.
- Spotlight Success Every month: Spend five minutes during one or two team meetings to showcase one person on your team. Encourage them to share an inspiration, a project they are excited about, an update, a goal they have achieved, or something personal they would like to share with the rest of the team.
Get expert insight into your team with the 1-minute Virtual Team Success Survey
This strategy encourages team members to share the sort of personal information that often comes up during “water cooler” moments in co-located offices, deepening relationships between colleagues.
Every team is different, and you may need to experiment with a version (Michael use another word other then strategy) that works for the individuals who make up your team, but the goal is the same – create opportunities for getting to know one another better. The more your team invests in its good will bank, the more resilient and successful it will be in the future.
– Claire Sookman, Founder, Virtual Team Builders