We’re all for fresh ideas when it comes to running remote and hybrid meetings. That’s why we hosted first Lead Time Live virtual event — to get new inspiration and learn how other leaders are evolving their approaches to meetings these days.
In case you missed it, here’s a wrap on some of our biggest 🤯 moments and links to all the content you can draw inspiration from too.
(A big thank you to all our speakers — Sarah Milstein, Cate Huston, Juan Pablo Buriticá, Harper Reed, Katie Wilde, and Jen Dennard — and our host Jean Hsu.)
It’s hard to collaborate on certain kinds of work when you’re not together. Most of us have seen this play out with the shift to remote and hybrid work in the past 2 years.
In particular, generative work and things that require a high level of group focus and attention, like strategic planning, can be daunting when we’re apart. These typically require long chunks of time together to explore and dive deep into things, but let’s face it, nobody wants to be on a 6-hour Zoom.
In her talk “Preparing your team for in-office and hybrid work,” Sarah Milstein from ConvertKit shared some new ideas to help smooth out the kinks in these types of sessions based on her experience running highly collaborative remote and hybrid teams over the years.
Depending on the level of planning you intend, you might repeat these spaced-out planning sessions over the course of a few days or a week.
Facilitating a large group discussion isn’t easy. And try as we might, there are still things that will go wrong from time to time. Side conversations, unclear objectives, tangential topics, technical difficulties, power dynamics… just to name a few.
So, in the same way you’d prepare for a meeting by setting an agenda and planning how you’ll tackle it, it can also be helpful to think through your strategy for what happens when things don’t go as planned.
In a panel discussion called “What it takes to run better remote meetings),” experts shared advice on how to navigate challenging meeting situations back on track.
Challenge: Meeting gets sidelined by tangential topics
Try this: Team cues or phrases
“Try having a set of phrases that you keep in your back pocket that everyone can use. Something like ‘We have 20 minutes left and I know we wanted to get to 3 more topics. Are those still things we want to cover today?’ It makes it easier when there’s a power dynamic too, because it feels less personal and more like a team norm.” — Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering here at Range
Challenge: Discussion gets heated or there seem to be power dynamics at play
Try this: “Let’s take 5”
“Make it OK to say ‘I need some space and time to think through this, can we reconvene?’ It doesn’t have to be tomorrow — it could be in 15 minutes, and everyone goes and grabs a drink of water and collects their thoughts. Just taking a pause or reset in situations like this can be really helpful.” — Harper Reed
Most teams rely too heavily on meetings to get things done. Sure, meetings are necessary for aligning, collaborating, and connecting as a team. But when they start to morph into your team’s primary form of communication you’ve got a problem.
In her talk “How to reduce meeting dependency on your team,” our co-founder Jen Dennard shared how a blended approach to communication — mixing meetings with intentional asynchronous touchpoints — can make your team more effective.
Why: Status updates work well in written format because they don’t require much collaboration or discussion. When you move status updates out of your standup meeting, you can hold fewer in-person meetings each week and can focus discussion on things that require actual collaboration: addressing blockers, understanding what’s not going as expected, and making decisions on how to move forward.
A blended approach to project brainstorm sessions
Why: Rather than take up the first 30 minutes (or more) of a brainstorming sesh offering up background, sharing it asynchronously can help you cut down meeting time and give folks time to prep ideas beforehand too. (There’s even some research that suggests brainstorming individually can produce better ideas.) That way, when you come together, everyone’s prepared with ideas to bounce off one another. Plus, brainstorming solo is a lot more inclusive for all personality types.
Looking for ways to improve your team's meetings? Try the Meetings Manual — it’s our comprehensive guide to running remote and hybrid meetings that don’t suck.Get the Meetings Manual