Think about how we start a meeting in the office.
The early bird arrives first and clears the table of the prior meeting’s post-it notes or coffee mugs.
More people arrive in dribs and drabs, mid-conversation, talking about how their day has been, the meeting they just came from, or the new adventures of their kids or fur babies. Then after about 5 minutes of chatter, people start to focus on the meeting at hand and the agenda kicks in.
In Zoom, what happens?
We open up our screen, blink into our ring light, adjust the blinds behind us.
Then we join the meeting on mute.
Then when we finally get asked for our opinion or our feeling on something, there is silence.
We then wonder, why we aren't we getting the collaboration or interaction we usually get? We feel like virtual communication is stunted, forced and not as creative or inspired as the traditional office setting.
You haven't primed the environment.
You can't expect free flowing conversation with people if you have restricted them to silence for half a meeting. Some people love to communicate, but you likely hear their opinion regularly. For most people communication is like a muscle, you need to warm it up!
Using the amazing tool Unchatter, I have listed 10 questions below that you could use to warm up the communication. This will build the storytelling feeling in your team, increasing sharing, vulnerability, and connectedness. You could use this with the whole group but I would recommend if your meeting is more than 4-5 people use breakout rooms to make the interaction more personal.
If you could meet one person you haven't met yet, who would it be and why? What would you talk about?
What does your perfect day look like?
What song gives you a wave of nostalgia every time you hear it? What moment does it take you back to?
Who is the most influential teacher you ever had? What made them so impactful?
If you could only use three words to describe yourself to someone who had never met you, what words would you choose?
What is one of the most historic things that happened in your lifetime? Has it defined you in anyway?
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any ability (or superhero power) would it be and why?
If there was a big party thrown in your honour, what would you want us to be celebrating?
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Before you start
Some teams will like an on-the-fly question - however, give them 30 seconds to think about it before you pop them into breakout rooms. If you know you have a team of introverts, or deep thinkers, let them know the question you are going to ask the day before. This will give them time to feel confident they can contribute to the best of their ability.
Need some more ideas of how to engage your team, work more closely and get the most out of every interaction?