I’m a facilitator, so planning meetings and ensuring a team is engaged has been my jam for a long time. When people walked into the in-person session, they knew right away the meeting was going to be anything but business as usual, and we had the luxury of being together.

These days, every client I work with has been cast in the facilitator’s role if only to conduct business day-to-day. Keeping your team engaged is crucial whether you’re together, remote, or a combination of the two. It’s essential to “keep it fresh” and create an “aha . . . game-on moment” before and during team meetings. Here are some simple suggestions to help.

Use the elements of the platform you’re using to help you think through how to engage your people when you conduct remote or hybrid meetings:

  1. Sight: Before the meeting, let everyone know you expect “cameras on” and remind participants as you begin the session.
  2. Sound: Kick off with an icebreaker that requires everyone to respond. For example: Show us something from your environment (on your desk, in your purse or pocket, or your “space”) that might be funny or surprising to your team. Keep it brief by asking each person to describe the item in three sentences or less. Go first, so they know what you expect.
  3. Access: If you’re sharing information, make sure participants have equal access to it. If they are remote, send it in chat or post it in an easy-to-see format on-screen.
  4. Give em’ a minute: Allow participants a little time to process and absorb what you’re sharing.
  5. Response: Minus the subtle physical cues we enjoy in-person, people hesitate to speak first. Explain when and how you’ll be asking for a reply and consider calling on people, so everyone has a chance to be heard.
  6. Phone It In: “Zoom fatigue” is a real thing. Consider shaking it up a little bit by going old-school with audio-only meetings to give your team a break from the screen.
  7. Have Fun: Enjoy the awkwardness of remote engagement! You might create a signal that everyone can give when a participant starts talking and they’re on mute.