Hey, I’m Chad Littlefield. And you are here to find out how to keep a remote team engaged. And I cannot wait to share not one but two, three, four, five quick closing exercises to help keep your remote team engaged. And the reason in this video that I’m going to zoom in and focus on closing exercises is often times the way that we end our remote meetings signals to us what the next one will be like, right? And it signals to us whether or not we’re  going to be motivated to show up to the next one. If you end a meeting feeling stressed, overwhelmed, burnt out, demotivated, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to go into your next remote meeting feeling energized and alive and excited and creative, right?

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Taking a leaf out of Stephen Covey’s book, the best way to engage a remote team is to begin with the end in mind. Without further ado let’s jump into these 5 quick closing exercises to wrap up your meetings to increase engagement in your remote team. Where did these 5 closing exercises come from? Because I didn’t just like randomly pop them out of my brain and sharing them with you blind hoping that they work. My job is actually consulting with and leading workshops for some of the most innovative universities and organizations  on the planet. And one of my current clients who I’m loving working with is the national 4-H Council. And I’m helping them design more engaging training and education materials ultimately to equip and develop young leaders. I was having a meeting with them, we were going over there all of the closings for their trainings. I just sat and brainstormed and pulled from all of the different workshops that I’ve led, the different experiments that I’ve tried with how to end meetings and picked out a  whole list of really great closing exercises. I came up with a list of 10 in that moment for that meeting. I’m picking out 5 to share with you in brief.

Application Anchors

The idea here is you know, if we meet but there is no application especially if there’s learning involved. And there’s no application or there’s no action leaving that meeting then it was a total bust. If you want to engage your remote team, one of the most brilliant things you can do is 5 minutes before the end of a meeting say, “Leave your Zoom screen, your laptop station wherever that is, and go find an object somewhere in your house, apartment, car, wherever you are. Go find an object that represents one application you are stealing from this meeting or one action you want to take leaving this meeting. For example you may have somebody go find an ear. Not sure how   many people have ears lying around but you may have somebody go find an ear to say, “You know after this meeting, I realized that in my role of leadership I need to be more deliberate about listening to you before I speak and spit my ideas at you.” And the value here is that the brain is wired to take visual data and encode it into long-term memory. Such a powerful way to close on a high note rather than a low note. And you know another reason I wanted to focus on closing exercises, if you’ve ever heard of the primacy recency effect in psychology. We tend to remember what happens first and what happens last most. If what happens last in your remote meetings is like rushing to the end and trying to figure out how to schedule, like when to schedule the next meeting because you didn’t finish everything you were trying to get to. That is not great for engagement and it would be much more useful to set a timer to go off 5 minutes before the official end time  and take that last 5 minutes to do one of these 5 closing exercises or to close deliberately in your own way.

Future Me

For this one, I’m going to take you to futureme.org. Literally just type in futureme.org and you’ll land on this beautiful site that allows you to write a letter to your future self. A really great way to close on a high note is to say, “Think about the next time we’re gathering and the next big meeting we have, the next all staff whatever and pick the date before that. Let’s say it’s December 9th that we’re all going to get back together. Go ahead and choose December 8 and write a letter that you would love to receive to get you mentally prepared for that gathering. It could be something you want to tell yourself. It could be something that you want to share with the team on December 9th. Whatever it is, write a letter to your future self. Now, this is perfect for online classes too or remote learning. Having people write a letter to themselves in the future is a great way to crowdsource remote team engagement. And what I mean by that is as a leader you don’t want to be the one pushing engagement  necessarily. You just want to create opportunities for the team to contribute and engage. And this is a really brilliant one because they get to choose whatever they write and they get to choose when it’s sent and literally you type in your email you don’t get added to a list, no spam involved. You click send to the future and voila you are there. Super nifty tool to be able to use. I’m sure that now that you know about this, you will figure out a whole variety of contexts to use it in.

Question Quest

This is a super cool closing, in part because it extends the meeting in a meaningful way. When you meet remotely sometimes your meetings can be fewer and further  between. How do you create the momentum in between one meeting to the next meeting, this is a really great exercise for that. When Will and I were writing the book Ask Powerful Questions, we happen to realize and love the fact that the first part of the word question is quest.  We kind of… this closing exercises plays on that idea and invites people in the last 5 minutes of a meeting to say, “Okay. Based  on what we’ve discussed, what’s happened, what we’ve talked about. Can you formulate one question which you would like to consistently ask yourself until the next meeting. To go on a quest of  sorts.” In theory, a really good question allows you to explore possibilities, right? To go on a quest, to explore unknown territory, to uncover new ideas, new perspectives, new connections with people. If you… if I were to ask this question. If i turn this question into a quest, “What is something you know really well?” This is an overused one, I’ve probably used this one in the last handful of videos that I’ve led. But it’s a good question. What is something you know really well? If you were to turn that question into a quest… quest. And ask 5 colleagues in between now and your next  meeting this question. If your entire group was to do that with a question of their own choosing. The connection and learning and engagement would go up in that group. The very simple idea is have everybody formulate the question that they want to ask either of themselves or of teammates and how many times they want to ask that question or how many times they want to go on that quest in between now and the next meeting. It’s a really lovely way to invite people to… into  meaningful conversations in a way that literally takes… I said 5 minutes, really takes 2 minutes at the end of the meeting. Hope you enjoyed these ideas. This video is getting a little bit longer than I anticipated. Linked right here is part two of the video and another video you might love. If you want the other two, go ahead and jump over there and we’ll finish out these 5 lovely closing exercises. Have an awesome… Need water. Have an awesome day.

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