5 Proven Methods to Boost Remote Team Engagement During Meetings

One of the struggles when leading a virtual team is the lack of participation during Zoom meetings. I could talk for an hour straight and they would be fine not interrupting me from my virtual stage. As much as I encourage them to also chime in their ideas, they would only do so when I call their name.

It gets frustrating sometimes—I value ideas and insights from my team whether big or small so I really need their engagement during the meetings.

That is why I am so glad to have been introduced to five tactics I can implement on my team (and yours too!) to help them gain the confidence to share what they have in mind during discussions.

Vivek Nigam, our guest on the Management Blueprint podcast shared these tips, that you too can implement for free. 

1.Share an Image

This first one is very easy. Many people need visual aid to get better insights on the topic at hand. So, what is image-sharing about, and how can it benefit your team?

The first step is to ask everyone via email or chat to share a photo of something about themselves.  You can ask about their last vacation (new ice cream, beach, cafes, restaurants, sunset, their best outfit), their favorite food (or the weirdest food combination they tried), or their favorite coffee flavor, or TV show. Ask them anything personal and let them bring an image of those things. It does not matter if they took the photo or they grabbed it from Google.

But here’s the thing, no one should see the others’ photos yet. If you’re sending via email, BCC everyone so they cannot “Reply to All.” Or message them directly, so they can reply one by one. Remember not to distribute the collection until everyone has responded.

That step is important because we’re dealing with the psychology of peer pressure. Yes, just slightly because we want them following instructions and finishing tasks quickly. One lacking participation can disrupt the sharing, and no team member wants to hold others back. Once you have the photos, put them in Google Slides or other presentation tools ready to share during your next meeting.

During the meeting, pull out one photo and let that team member share. The next time they are doing something or out for a vacation, they will take photos anticipating the next time you will have a team sharing. Not only does this improve participation but also let’s you learn more about each other.

It’s like hitting two birds with one stone, don’t you agree?

2. Equitable Voice Videos

The second tactic is giving everyone an equal opportunity to speak in a team meeting. No, it does not mean that we give everyone a three-minute timer to talk but rather give them a topic to update the team about. The topic does not need to be corporate.

And the twist comes in: ask everyone to take a video talking about that topic, give them a time limit to share the video privately with you.

For example, around November-December, Vivek asked his team about their celebrations and they told him about their Thanksgiving celebrations. During your meetings, present those videos so that everyone gets updated about the rest of their team. Everyone gets the opportunity to share and be heard.

3. Simplified Check-ins

One thing to aid your one-on-ones with your team members is using this simple check-in method that you can do once a week.

You can ask questions like “Do you need someone to talk to?”, “Is this task doable for you?” or “Send me an emoji to describe how you feel today” or “How does the week ahead look like for you?”

The responses will get you insight about them, that you can discuss during your next one-on-one. Typically, for the first few weeks of your digital check-ins, most will say “I’m doing great,” but as time goes on, you will start to receive substantial responses. Someone might reply that they feel disconnected or distracted mentally but they feel okay physically… Use this opportunity to start a conversation during your one-on-one.

You might learn that you gave them a task that was above their comfort level. Or you learn that their family member died which is affecting their work. This is a great way to connect with them. Once everyone is comfortable sharing their responses with the rest of the team, you can do these check-ins during team meetings. You will build kindness and compassion between your people and uplevel your virtual workplace.

4. Recognize & Appreciate

This next tactic is rather wholesome. Every human being wants to feel valued and appreciated for accomplishing a small task or a big project. You could start your meetings saying: “Thank you for setting aside your time to join me for this meeting today.” It’s nice to be grateful for everyone’s presence and you are setting a standard on how to treat others.

But another thing that would leave a mark (literally) is creating a video or a voice message and sending it to your members. They finished a task? Great send them a video thanking them for finishing it early and for the high-quality output. This type of appreciation can really make someone’s day. It might be a small recognition but will feel big for the recipient.

Vivek also suggests that you ask one person from your team every week to send out appreciation recordings, on a rotating basis. Use this to foster a culture of gratitude on your team.

5. Professional & Inclusive Language

Now this last tactic is something that most people struggle with.

“How do I find the words to tell this or that to others?”

“How do I say the right thing so that I don’t mess up?”

You can use AI for this, actually. Vivek’s BeRemote tool monitors the language that your people are using and trains an AI to suggest more appropriate responses. But you can also use ChatGPT to aid you in forming your words. Ask your colleagues to use AI, when in doubt, to reword their sentences in a professional and inclusive way.

This will make a big impact on how confident they will be when speaking or sharing.


Fostering active participation and engagement within remote teams during meetings is crucial for maintaining productivity and team unity.  By implementing the five strategies outlined for your next remote meeting, you can develop an empowering environment for the team.  If someone is uncomfortable on the team, they will likely not participate.

So, build that connection with everyone first, and trust that your next remote team meeting will be a blast. Share with us your own tactics to encourage participation during virtual meetings!  And do let us know if Vivek’s tactics worked for your team.

Want to know more management strategies?

Follow the Secret CEO Blueprints Newsletter on LinkedIn, or tune in to the the Management Blueprint Podcast on YouTube.