The last few years have brought significant changes to society and working conditions all over the world. With many teams transitioning to remote work, communication is bound to change. These changes don’t have to be stressful or complicated. Together with our teams, we can work to make this evolution of communication productive and exciting.
In this day and age, virtual meetings are becoming the norm. How do we maintain open, honest team communication while scaling and being fully remote? It takes time, patience and many iterations. We’re here to share our tips and tricks to help communication flow—even while scaling a virtual team.
(Based on a true story, these tips are how we maintain open communication here at Bloom Growth™ while being 100% remote.)
1. Pre-meeting preparations
A strong marketing plan will make your meeting or event flow easier. A marketing plan includes a list of deliverables, context around the topic/project, due dates, and defines who is responsible for what. A marketing plan explains your project’s who, what, when, where, why and how. Your marketing plan should answer most questions about a new project.
To take a step back, once you’ve defined a need for a new project, you can start the project planning. First, list all the small tasks needed to complete this project.
Your Org Chart will help you determine who is responsible for each task.
After you have your tasks and who they’re owned by, you can add your due dates. Once you have your project planned out, you’re ready to invite all necessary team members and get this plan on the road.
2. The Agenda
The agenda is vital to the productivity of your meeting. A clear plan of action will help the meeting flow and your team stay focused. Your agenda should come from your preparations beforehand. Based on the meeting topic, you can plan time for brainstorming, problem-solving, info-sharing or all of the above. Clearly discussing or displaying your agenda at the beginning of your meeting will keep everyone focused and productive. Whatever your agenda is, try to start with a Check-in to get solid communication flowing.
In your Bloom Growth virtual meeting software, the interactive meeting agenda is boldly displayed on the sidebar with timeframes for each section of your Agenda, ensuring your meetings stay on track.
3. Open communication with a Check-in
Using a Check-in at the beginning of your meetings is a great way to open up communication before diving into solving issues or brainstorming. Here at Bloom, at the beginning of our Weekly Meeting, we go around the call and each share one personal and one professional win from the week. This practice adds a level of personality and openness that helps us grow our connection as a team and work like a well-oiled machine. Feedback and help from a friend are generally received better than by someone you hardly know.
With your Bloom subscription, you have access to pre-made meeting templates—including Weekly Meetings, one-on-one same-page meetings, and any customized meetings you create for your team.
Learn more tips on opening communication and shaking up your meetings.
4. Who you invite
The most vital part of a meeting is the (right) people attending. Make sure every person invited is relevant to the agenda and ask yourself, “does this person contribute to the end goal of this meeting?” Your aim should be to include relevant stakeholders so you can be as productive as ever.
In your Bloom Growth™ software, you can reference your Org Chart to view all accountabilities of everyone in your organization at a glance. When considering who to invite to your meeting or who should be a stakeholder, reference your Org Chart to quickly identify who your project is right for.
5. Start and end on time
To be respectful of everyone’s time, begin and end at the agreed-upon time. If further meetings are required, schedule one and keep moving. Stay in communication before and after the meeting to ensure nothing is slipping through the cracks and all questions are answered.
With your Bloom Growth virtual meeting software, you can see time limits for each agenda section. These visual reminders will help everyone stay focused and on topic.
6. Consistency for recurring meetings
The secret to a productive Weekly Meeting is consistency. Showing up at the same time, with the same people and the same agenda will open communication and build trust throughout the team. Showing up to a meeting you’ve had 100 times allows you to fully focus on the content of the meeting and not use brainpower to think about what’s coming next. When you know the meeting agenda like the back of your hand, you can focus all your energy on solving the issues needed to keep your projects moving forward.
With your Bloom Weekly Meeting, you have all the tools needed for the most productive and consistent meeting. Now, with all this consistency, your Weekly Meeting could sometimes get monotonous. Here are a few tips on creative ways to make meetings more engaging.
7. Staying on track
The final ingredient is staying on track. Again, when the meeting starts, the meeting host should clearly state the desired outcome of the meeting. This establishes a focus on the desired outcome and promotes working as a team to get there. There are a few helpful features to boost productivity in your Bloom meeting workspace.
Along with the visual reminders of the remaining time allotted for each section of your Agenda, we also have our famous Tangent Button. This button is a fan-favorite feature and always makes us laugh. When someone ventures down tangent road, hit the tangent button anonymously to get the meeting back on track. It’s a fun little reminder (no really, there’s confetti) to stay focused.
Last but not least, you can enable the ‘follow the leader’ function in your virtual meeting software. This feature guides each meeting member through the Agenda and keeps everyone on the same page. Each member can disable this feature to control their screen but the option to have everyone on the same page is available.
With everyone in the meeting and following the leader, everyone can see changes, updates, notes and more, in real-time with their colleagues.