The Gig Economy
11 Rules For Running Remote Team Meetings
As I work with more companies that have remote teams, both within NZ and around the world, I’m gaining practical insights into the best ways to run remote team meetings.
I have distilled these insights downs into a set of ‘rules’ that the teams I work with all now use. I have outlined these rules below as I have been seeing great results in how the teams perform.
1) Take a check-in.
A check-in is where everyone takes the time to describe how they are feeling and why. It sets a good tone for the meeting, personalises the conversation, and gives people a chance to offer the necessary information for how to interact with each other on the call on the day.
2) Conduct a team engagement exercise.
This is to promote interpersonal connection over an impersonal forum.
I work with a team that starts each meeting with a riddle to solve. One person is nominated to bring the riddle to the meeting and the rest of the team then work together to solve it in no more than two minutes. It gets everyone into the teamwork mentality and focused on the tasks at hand.
3) Microphones on mute.
This is the most protected rule we use. Video chats quickly become a feedback mess if everyone has their microphones on so turning them off allows for clear audio.
Should a microphone be left on, anyone in the team has the right to mute them (if they aren’t speaking of course!). The microphone ‘on’ button then becomes the equivalent to a ‘talking stick’, which can be passed on by the speaker.
4) Keep your camera as still as possible.
The movement of cameras can be distracting for all observing. The problem usually occurs when people are using a mobile phone or have their laptops on their lap.
If a meeting has been planned in advance, then we insist that people organise themselves a space that is not only conducive to holding a conversation, but that also has a place to position the device they will use for the meeting
For anyone that needs to use their mobile, we often insist the camera stays off to avoid the video stream moving all over the place.
5) Frame your face on the screen.
It’s distracting for the rest of the participants if someone isn’t facing them on the camera or is only partially visible. It’s the equivalent of not looking at the speaker and it can be off-putting, even if unintentional.
6) Have an agenda and publish it on the chat function for everyone to see.
This brings clear focus to the meeting and allows everyone to stay on task.
7) Only one person speaking at a time.
This is self-explanatory.
8) The speaker has right of way.
The current speaker has the right of way to speak at any conversation ‘intersection’ or interruption.
9) Turning the mic on and off once indicates you would like to speak.
Finding a way of controlling conversation over video conference can be challenging, especially when there are delays in the stream or the conversation is heated.
The best signal of an intent to speak is to turn the mic on and off, where the red icon flashing provides a visual cue for the current speaker.
10) The speaker has the right to transfer the conversation.
It’s the speaker’s right to transfer the speaking privileges to someone else. This is a housekeeping rule that prevents people from talking over each other, and keeps the conversation flowing.
11) Smile, lots.
It’s important to smile and nod through the camera as if you were there in person. It may seem odd at first but keep still, look at the camera, and smile. It makes a difference!
Being disciplined with how remote meetings are run is one of the more practical ways of transforming a company to be ‘remote ready’. I’m personally seeing some fantastic teamwork improvements when these rules are followed and protected, so give it a go and see if they work for you.
About the author — Aidan Kenealy
My mission is to help those with high growth businesses realise their vision for success. I draw from the unique lessons learned growing EMGN to help founders and CEOs get the best out of what their businesses can be.
If you would like to discuss how I can help you and your business — please reach out via LinkedIn or email firstname.lastname@example.org