Holding regular (and preferably daily) meetings with staff is important for keeping communication channels open, ensuring clarity over roles, responsibilities and expectations, communicating key information, and providing opportunities for continued social connection among staff. These may be whole school or team meetings.
In order to get the most out of online staff meetings it is useful to set up clear protocols and processes.
1. Select your communication channel(s) and clearly define what types of communication will use which channels e.g. Zoom or GoogleHangouts (with video enabled) for daily team meetings, email for daily information updates.
2. Set clear expectations for when and how often staff participating in virtual meetings will be required.
3. Establish best practices for participating in virtual meetings including:
- Presence – does everyone have to have their video on?
- How will people signal when they have something to say?
- How will you hold each other accountable for not multi-tasking during meetings?
- How will you ensure the entire team feels included, respected and valued in the conversation?
- What type of meeting notes will be distributed? What will the follow up be?
4. Before a meeting
- Make sure that you have practiced utilising the technology and that all staff are able to use it
- For those leading the meeting, develop a clear, concise agenda and circulate it to attendees prior to the meeting
- Send out a reminder email to attendees with the with tech info and virtual meeting norms
- Try to ensure team members are in an environment that is conducive to participating in the meeting
- Prepare a simple slide or document for capturing next steps ready to screen share at the end of the meeting
- Open the online meeting room early and welcome participants; let them chat with each other
5. During a meeting
- Structure the opening with a welcome and overview of the objectives
- Keep meetings short and tightly focused
- Ask questions frequently & pause for response
- Use names to draw attention back in
- Give verbal directions to guide audience attention when sharing content
- Keep vocal energy & eye contact (at the lens)
- Apply engagement tools when appropriate, e.g. poll, annotation, chat, etc.
- At the end summarise next steps (What, Who, When)
6. After a meeting
- Share relevant screenshots, documents and next steps with participants
- Debrief with team members where necessary