Building Connections in Your Online Meetings

By now, you have been in so many zoom, webex, google, microsoft, etc., etc., etc., meetings that you want to . . . Well, you get the idea. You might even be leading some of these meetings. I now invite you to take a deep breath and consider your opening question to the group.

For many meetings it might be “How are you doing?” This can work and has fine intentions; however, you’ve answered it so many times and it no longer generates original thought. In fact, it may be building disconnection. I’ve tried out a few different questions including -“What’s your current favorite food while working from home?”

So, with questions in mind, let me share some ideas and some great questions posed in a recent article for Quartz at Work by Elizabeth Weingarten (managing editor Behavioral Scientist) (20 questions to ask instead of “How are you doing right now?”

Weingarten’s exploration of building connection via an opening question also fits with the ideas of building effective teams from Google’s Project Aristotle that includes creating psychological safety for your team to excel. Per Weingarten, the right questions can be “interpersonal relationship magnets compelling us to reveal personal information that build mutual trust.”  And, when a group or team trusts, then they work better together. The idea is to ask a question that allows people to share something meaningful about themselves.

Here’s a sample of Weingarten’s 20 questions:

What part of your shelter-in-place residence have you come to appreciate most?

What habit have you started or broken, during the quarantine?

What are some things that you’ve realized you don’t really need?

What times of the day or the week are hardest?

What’s the best thing that happened to you today?

Think about your next meeting and try out a question that builds connection, deepens relationship, and allows your group to build a safe space. This is what allows teams to perform at high levels.