Effective Virtual Team Meetings
As teams move into virtual meetings, here are some best practices to consider to support the work of your team.
1. Reground yourself in the work of your team.
What is the purpose of your team? How does this purpose serve students? With all learning being remote, team meetings can be a space to:
- Learn together about best practices
- Troubleshoot challenges in remote learning
- Student talk – who is engaged, who is not, who is finishing work or not, challenges students are having, etc.
- Check in on shared tasks or assignments
2. Review your standing agenda.
Review the standing agenda you use for your meetings – are the same agenda buckets still what you need in this time? Are there any you can revise, delete or add? What will serve your purpose (see #1)? Don’t have a standing meeting agenda? This is a great time to create one and get buy-in from all members of your team about how this time will be most useful! Some useful common agenda buckets can include:
- Personal and professional check-ins (can include go-arounds responding to a prompt)
- Learning Together (share outs of what we have learned about our work so far)
- Kid talk (who is engaging or not, who is mastering work, students to reach out to)
- Planning time (co-writing a letter to students and families, building pacing guides for the grade-team)
- Closing (next steps, to-do list, norms check, process check, appreciations, celebrations)
Norms, or team agreements, help shape how you want your team to work together. If your team already has norms, you can spend some time considering how these will look or sound differently in a virtual space. If your team doesn’t have agreed upon ways in which you show up and work together, now can be a great time to consider what everyone needs to have effective meetings.
4. Review roles.
Team roles can help increase accountability and share the load. These can rotate weekly or monthly, depending on how your team agrees to divvy up the work. These can be assigned in advance. Common roles include:
- Notetaker (can also watch the chat box)
- Process observer (tending to norms)
- Time keeper
5. Setting weekly or bi-weekly meeting times.
Setting standing meeting times will ensure that your meetings happen. Make sure to schedule during a time when all team members can be available and present.
6. Work time.
Building in time to your meeting to do shared work helps make meetings more effective and useful. Consider what shared work your team can do together to support students and each other.
7. Equity of voice.
Just like in our face-to-face meetings, protocols and explicit facilitation allows for all voices and ideas to be heard (any of these protocols can be modified for a virtual space). Breaking up into small groups (on Zoom) is another way to ensure participation.
Other Things to Consider:
- Less is more: everything takes longer during online meetings – plan accordingly!
- Muting yourself when not talking helps to not pick up on feedback, background noise, etc.
- Chat on Google Hangout/Meet or Zoom is useful to capture questions, affirmations, etc.
- Turn on your video if you can/feel comfortable (though not necessary, but helps with connection and communication clarity).
- Use an interactive shared agenda that all can be looking at/using during your meeting. If your team is not already using google docs, this is a way to have the notetaker capturing notes in real-time while all others can see and contribute.
- During this unprecedented time, teams will need to tend to one another, including fostering an awareness that business is not usual, and we all may need to step away to take care of ourselves and our families.