Virtual Meetings Boring, Scary, or Safe?

Employees are much more creative and productive when they feel they are in a safe environment.  To establish psychological safety in virtual meetings the leader must establish trust and respect among the participants. The leader must start by modeling trust and respect for the participants during the meeting and make everyone feel they can safely be their respectful selves without fear of criticism. Here are some ideas to ensure the psychological safety of meetings:

  1. Ask participants to show where they are working so others can know what distractions other team members contend with during the meeting.  If you see something that means a participant may be distracted during the meeting, ask them how you can support them so you make the most of your time together.
  2. Discuss the purpose of the meeting and who on the team brings what expertise to the table so everyone has a shared understanding of why they are there.
  3. People who can’t contribute to the purpose should be excused from the meeting. They are more valuable to the organization working on the projects they are directly involved in.
  4. Use some of the meeting time for individual focused work on the project.  This will allow you to work side by side your team members. Briefly share what you accomplished
  5. Start the Zoom call 10 minutes early so that people can greet each other and chat before the meeting begins.
  6. Share a meal together via Zoom.  Bring breakfast or lunch and allow time in the agenda to eat.  Allow time to chat and catch up with everyone too.
  7. Find a ritual that is special for your team and do it every time you meet. 
  8. Make team members feel it is safe to take risks.  Does every member feel they can express themselves freely without the group criticizing them or making them wrong?
  9. Create an environment where people can respectfully disagree and state their reason for disagreeing without attacking the person.
  10. Allow people to talk about their mistakes and what they learned from them.  If your organization  wants people to take risks, then you must accept that some will fail.  There are lessons to be learned from failure.

Do you agree that these tips are important to implement in order to have a good virtual meeting? Not sure how to get started? I can help you. I work with smart, resourceful people who are looking for a partner to help them improve the way they manage their work, their direct reports and/or themselves. If you’d like a thinking partner who helps you to find different possibilities and encourages you to find the right one for you, call me at 781-598-0388 or email me at for a no obligation free appointment to discuss.

Information from this list comes from a presentation by David Burkus sponsored by the Institute of Coaching.


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