1% Better at Remote Meetings

Today I ran our Monthly Team Meeting with the Barrel team. Each month, we use this meeting to share team changes, celebrate wins, discuss recent launches, and catch up on important announcements.

Since going remote, it's been a challenge to replicate the energy of being in-person but I've come to realize that's the wrong mindset. It's not about once was, it's about what can be.

With this mindset, I started experimenting with a few adjustments (read here for more insight on the driver of these changes). Today it paid off. Engagement was at all time high and the Zoom chat was on fire.

Below are some of the recent updates:

  • Moving from Google Slides to Pitch: From the Giphy / YouTube / Vimeo integration to the overall user experience, Pitch has helped amplify the interactivity and look of the deck.
  • Co-creation & delegation: Instead of one meeting host, sections are delegated across the team. For example, our Director of Business Development, Dan, leads the "BD Report" sharing new wins, clients in talks, and account activity. This has turned what used to be more like a keynote presentation into a festival of speakers. Not only is it nice to hear from different team members but it gives people an opportunity to present in front of the group.
  • Pre-recorded site walkthroughs & details: To showcase recent launches, team members used to scroll through the website and provide background. The transition between the deck and the browser was always distracting and the presentations were often inconsistent. Now, each launch has a slide in the deck with pre-recorded video walkthroughs. The slide also includes the project name, services, team, a fun fact, and platform. Much smoother and insightful.
  • Project kickoff highlights: This was a suggestion from a team member after our last meeting. The intent was to celebrate the projects kicking off each month. After doing it today, I realized that it actually addresses another topic that we've always struggled with: how teams are tackling similar challenges. In addition to celebrating the kickoff, this is a great way to talk about how each team is approaching the project and what new steps that might be trying out.
  • Barrel Trivia: Every presentation now ends with one trivia question about a client and another about the team. This has been a fun way to educate the team on Barrel history while making the meeting more interactive.
  • Background music: We recently had a guest speaker who had music on while people were entering the Zoom meeting. This reminded me of how I used to play music during weekly design meetings at the office. In today's meeting, I had music playing as everyone joined and kept it going the entire meeting. Not only did people dig the playlist but it was a nice touch during any quiet transitions. If you're looking for some upbeat background music, I highlight recommend Spotify's Lo-Fi Beats playlist.

Here's to getting 1% better every step of the way!