Capturing the attention of an audience has been the work of storytellers, writers, and orators forever and a day. Narrative hooks can range from dramatic to hilarious stories, startling stats or relatable secrets.
Songwriters and musicians use music hooks — memorable lyrics or melodies — to catch the ear of the listener.
Why? If you can pique the interest of your audience and bring them together, you’ll have a better shot at keeping their attention with the rest of what you have to say. Not only that, but they’ll feel connected to you and to each other.When you have a Zoom meeting with your team, how you start things off matters — especially right now, amid the uncertainty and stress of the COVID-19 crisis.
We’ve already covered the basics for setting up an online meeting that keeps your team engaged. So, how do you actually kick-off the meeting in a way that gets everyone involved?
Start with a question for everyone to answer. Not just a rhetorical, “How’s everyone doing?” but a truly interesting question that everyone can answer.
(Pro tip: If it’s a huge meeting, skip the roundtable and ask people to give their answers in the chatbox so everyone can quickly scan the responses.)
It sounds simple, but having the right question to start a meeting:
- Encourages participation: Getting people to say something at the start of the meeting inherently makes them more comfortable to speak up and engage later in the meeting.
- Guides conversation but allows for creative and varied answers: A good open-ended question encourages folks to share about a common theme. When you’re leading a team during these uncertain times, it helps to have direction and focus. The right type of question will work for all personalities, taking the pressure off the quiet folks, exciting the creative thinkers, and not annoying the logical members on your team.
- Builds relationships on your team: An open-ended question allows people to share their unique thoughts and experiences, which helps with team bonding as people get to know each other better. Your team members may realize they think a lot like Sam in accounting, they’re interested in what Fadi in marketing has to say and they have a lot in common with Zoë in sales. In times of distress or difficulty, it also allows people to share a bit about themselves — their bigger lives outside of just their work life.
- Builds trust among team members: Sharing things about ourselves that aren’t necessarily work related or that won’t come up in most work conversations helps us to get to know each other and that builds trust. Best of all? Building trust builds stronger teams.
At Padraig, we’ve developed a card deck, called “Team Talk, Team Trust” that helps get teams sharing about interesting and thought-provoking topics. The deck has 150 questions that are designed to start conversations that develop trust among team members.
We’ve recently developed a screen-sized version of the cards for virtual meetings and whiteboards:
We’ve heard from so many of you who are trying to figure out how to make this new reality of working remotely and managing others remotely (all while juggling family and personal life) and so we’re offering you this complimentary download of 10 questions from the Padraig “Team Talk, Team Trust” card deck. CLICK HERE and we’ll send you the 10 cards as screen-sized PDFs, and as PowerPoint slides and Keynote Slides — so you can use whichever version works best to post on your video meeting software.
If you’d like to buy the full set of cards, we’ve also put them on sale and we’ve added a bonus — we’ll email you the full set of all 150 cards in PDF format, as well. You can order them here.
And again, thank you to everyone who has reached out to me to let me know how much you’ve appreciated the blog topics to help support leaders during this COVID-19 crisis. If there is a topic you’d like us to address, please let me know.
What successes have you had with online meetings? What are your top challenges? Which question would you like to try to launch your next meeting?