First impressions count. In fact, within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone either in person or over the phone, the other person has already developed an impression of you.
That said, over the years, I’ve leveraged various team-building techniques to help teams move quickly through the stages of group development (Storming, Forming, Norming, Performing, Adjourning) and build a good impression of me as their project lead.
Technique 1: Have a Picture Organizational Chart
Before the kick-off meeting, I ask each team member to electronically submit a 2 x 2 self-portrait to include in a picture org chart.
People’s first reaction is, “why do we need a picture org chart?” As silly as it sounds, I’ve found that having a picture org chart brings team-members closer (especially, if virtual).
Since we are visual creatures, we tend to have an emotional investment in things we can see and touch; therefore, humanizing the org chart enables team-members to feel more accountable if a face is associated with a name instead of a typed name.
Technique 2: Prop up a Picture of the Individual who’s joining via Telephone
All too often, when individuals join a meeting via telephone, they tend to be very quiet and at times, forgotten.
Depending on the size of the team and conference room, I would either put their picture on an empty chair or on the phone itself. It doesn’t have to be a picture, could be a small toy or piece of paper with their name.
The point is to have something physical to represent the individual(s) on the phone. This will help team-members to remember those on the phone and empower virtual team-members to join the conversation.