When we meet in person, we informally connect one-on-one during breaks, and can socialize over drinks and dinner afterwards. When we are meeting virtually, the opportunities for casual, pairwise connections are almost non-existent.
To make up for that deficit, consider implementing this plan to encourage paired meet-ups between forum meetings:
(Of course, this can also be done even if your forum is holding its regular meetings in-person.)
- Set up a round-robin schedule with pairs of members (plus one trio if you have an odd number in your forum). The pairs rotate after every regular forum meeting or on a monthly basis.
- Pairs are asked to meet by whatever means works for them: a virtual “coffee” in Zoom; a walk or lunch date, or a conversation by phone.
- The plan can be left open-ended and flexible with no reporting back to the full forum, or each member can be asked to share one thing they learned about their partner at the next meeting.
Try this for a month or two, and then check-in and ask whether all would like to continue paired meetings on a regular basis.
In your one-on-ones, answering one or more of the following questions, can help build deeper connections:
- Describe a significant event in your life in the last year. What happened? Why was it so significant to you?
- What are three ways your team at work would describe you as a leader? What’s the area of leadership you’d most like to improve/develop?
- What’s a fear that you have and how has it limited you? How do you plan to overcome this fear in the years ahead?
- When you’re not working, what do you like to do for fun? Where do you find yourself most relaxed and happy?
- Describe one of your most challenging or difficult career experiences. What toll did it take on you and what did you learn?
- You know the expression ‘It’s lonely at the top’. When do you feel like that in your role? Why?
- Share an experience, either professional or personal ,of overcoming adversity against the odds. How did you do it? What impact did the experience have on you?