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Virtual Meeting Tip #2: Build Rapport and Comradery Among your Virtual Team Members

In the second in a series of Virtual Meeting Tips, today we discuss new ideas you can implement to:

BUILD RAPPORT AND COMRADERY AMONG YOUR VIRTUAL TEAM MEMBERS

Picture Your Team. Take advantage of group support system (GSS) software features and paste pictures and bios of meeting participants so that others can see their faces and learn about them. If your GSS does not support this, or if you're using teleconferencing and not a GSS, it is helpful to distribute web or paper versions of this information. If the group is part on-site and part remote, the pictures might include shots of the meeting space itself so remote team members can picture what people look like assembled in the meeting room. In addition to the participants posting their professional background, suggest they also include information and photos on their hobbies and interests.

Start with an Ice Breaker. To warm people up before the meeting, a quick check-in is always a good idea. Even when most people know each other, asking a question will help members to connect in new ways. (As you read the suggested questions below, keep an open mind. If you are thinking, "My team won't want to answer these questions", you may want to check out that assumption. I recently had a client who had a "question of the week" to kick off her weekly virtual meetings with her team of engineers. The engineers enjoyed it so much they would ask her days before the meeting, "What's this week's question of the week?"!)

Some suggestions:
  • Favorite hobby, pastime, or sport
  • Most memorable meal
  • What brought you to [the city where you live]?
  • An achievement in life, or an achievement you are proud of this week at work
  • What was your first paying job?
  • What would you most rather be doing right now?
  • What is your least favorite food?
  • What is your favorite movie or TV show of all time?
  • Where would you most like to go on vacation if money were no object?
  • If you had to/could live somewhere else, where would it be and why?

Using professional and personal photos and bios, and (even occasionally) having these brief and fun go-rounds as you begin your virtual meetings, increases knowledge among co-workers, makes them more comfortable with each other, and builds the team.

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