Virtual First | Communication Kit
Run effective meetings
Running effective meetings over videoconference isn’t rocket science. Still, most remote teams report loads of unproductive meetings each week. Good news: You don’t need a degree in organizational management to get good at meetings. Use this exercise to make your meetings more impactful, whether it’s a group brainstorm or quick stand-up.
30 MIN | PERSONAL EXERCISE
|Title: Deciding on a brand design concept
Dear design leads,
We’d love your thoughts on our latest design concepts. In our meeting, we’ll:
To prep, please re-familiarize yourselves with the goals and strategies in the brief by EOD Tuesday.
Looking forward to talking!
– Stella and the team
Once the meeting is on the calendar, help get everyone—including yourself—ready. Your meeting will run more smoothly if the team is prepped and ready for the discussion.
- Read and share any relevant content beforehand so everyone has the same context.
- Make sure everyone has done their pre-meeting work. Send a friendly reminder if necessary.
- If you’d like anyone to share their screen, let them know ahead of time so they have the right documents handy.
- Think about the tone you’d like to set. For example, a team-building meeting should feel light and fun, whereas a check on well-being should feel safe and supportive.
If you called the meeting, take advice from The Art of Gathering author Priya Parker and act as a gracious, authoritative host—someone who’s welcoming and warm yet confidently in charge. When your meeting starts:
- Leave time for unscripted chitchat. If your team members are remote, chances are they miss making impromptu connections.
- Warmly welcome everyone by their first name. If people don’t know each other, ask them to introduce themselves. Awkward silence? Try a creative conversation starter.
- Briefly restate your goal and agenda, and what happened the last time you met.
- If needed, give people a short “study hall” at the beginning to review reference docs.
- Encourage honesty and candor by creating a safe and confidential place for people to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas.
When we’re videoconferencing, it’s easy to space out or interrupt while someone else is talking. No matter your role, you can help ensure that all voices—not just the loudest—are heard in your meeting. Try to:
- Explicitly say you’d like to keep the meeting inclusive and hear everyone’s perspective.
- Redirect when things go off topic: “JD, I love those ideas but I want to make sure we get through our agenda. Let’s put them in the parking lot.”
- Interrupt the interrupters: “Thanks, Justin, but I’d like to finish hearing from Eunice. Eunice, can you say more?”
- Call on quieter people: “I’d love to hear from folks who haven’t spoken yet. Monique, what do you think?”
When you’re done, you can fill out the inclusive meeting scorecard to see how you did.
When the meeting’s over, thank everyone for their time. Then quickly summarize the decision you made, what happens next, and who will do what. Have a notetaker prep a short recap and send it after. Bonus points for ending five minutes early, so people have more time to recharge.
3 easy wins
Build the habit
- Tomorrow: Start all your meetings with a warm welcome and chitchat
- Next week: Fill out an inclusive meeting scorecard for a recent meeting
- Quarterly: Do a meeting cleanse with your team