How to Start Your Next Zoom Meeting in a More Meaningful Way

How to Start Your Next Zoom Meeting In a More Meaningful Way

Have you noticed that most Zoom meetings start one of two ways?

Friendly banter. “Hey Lauren, why did you choose Tiger King as your virtual background?” “Oh my gosh, I need a haircut.”   “Haha, not me. There are some advantages to being bald.”

Or, you jump right into the Zoom meeting agenda because “everyone’s so busy there’s no time to waste.”

No wonder we have Zoom fatigue.

Most of us are doing the best we can with what we have from where we are. We’re human beings navigating uncharted territory, experiencing the wild ride of emotions that shift by the minute. There’s not a lot of time to process. Most people I talk with are yearning for deeper conversation.

So, I’ve been thinking about an easy way to help you start your next Zoom meeting in a collective deep breath. Give people a minute to reflect on and share what’s on their minds. I hope you will give it a try and let me know how it goes.

An Easy Way to Start Your Next Zoom Meeting By Connecting a Level Deeper

Share this article with your team a day or so before the meeting.

Invite them to pick one of the quotations below that really resonates with them right now (or to bring a favorite quote of their own).

Then, start your Zoom meeting, but asking each person to share which quote they chose and why they find it valuable right now.

And watch the magical conversation unfold.

Inspirational Quotes For Difficult Times

Start here, or bring your own. In fact, I’d love for you to add your favorite to the list in the comments to give others even more choices.


“All courage is a threshold crossing. Often there is a choice: to enter the burning building or not, to speak the truth or not … But there is another sort of courage we are talking about here—the kind when afterward, the courageous are puzzled to be singled out as brave. They often say I had no choice.” -Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

“I believe the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity … is daring to dare. – Maya Angelou


“Hang onto your hat. Hang onto your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.” -E.B. White

“Fall seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” -Margaret Thatcher

“Never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.” -Amelia Earhart

“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword help in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of patter and a pitter. -J.R.R. Tolkien

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere or endure despite overwhelming obstacles.” -Christopher Reeve


“First tell yourself what kind of person you want to be, then do what you have to do.” -Epictetus

“If things start happening don’t worry, don’t stew. Just go right along you’ll start happening too.” – Dr. Seuss

“I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refused to be reduced by it.” -Maya Angelou

“All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for good in the present moment; an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.” – Marcus Aurelius


“There is a better way to do it. Find it.” -Thomas Edison

“The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on figuring out the old, but on building this now.” -Socrates

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” -Duke Ellington

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” – Mister Rodgers

“The type of disruption most companies and government agencies are facing right now is a once-in-every-few-centuries-event … More than changes in technology, or channel, or competitors—it’s all of them all at once” (and this was said BEFORE this crisis, even more true now). -Steve Blank, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Stanford

“The most promising ideas begin from novelty and then add familiarity.” -Adam Grant

Shifting Perspective

“My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon.” -Minutia Masahide

“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing the small things, so all the small things go in the right direction.” -Alvin Toffler, Future Shock

“When the winds of change blow, some build walls and others build windmills.” -Chinese Proverb

Your turn.

What inspirational quote is speaking to you most now?

See Also:

Lead Remote Meetings That Build Trust and Relationships

How to Build a Better Live-Online Leadership Training

7 Icebreaker Questions to Melt Frustration and Build Trust

7 Icebreaker Questions to Melt Frustration and Build Trust

Done well, an icebreaker can be valuable & strategic.

If the word “icebreaker” conjures up images of toothpicks and marshmallows and other fluffy activities that feel like a waste of time, you’re not alone.

We’re not huge fans of icebreaking without meaning.

But before you throw your ice out with the ice water, consider this. What if you began your team meeting with one strategic question to get your team talking about a topic that really mattered? After all, great meetings accomplish more than the task at hand, they make the team stronger.

Why not give it a try? Pick one question and send it out in advance with your meeting agenda so your introverts have a minute to think. And then open your next meeting with a bit of connected discussion on that topic. You’ll get the team talking about ways to make the team stronger, and as a bonus, you might be surprised how much more smoothly and efficiently the rest of the meeting goes.

Here are few to get you started.

7 Icebreaker Questions to Start Your Meeting

What one strength do you bring to the team that you wish others would truly see and appreciate?

Why it’s important: Whenever we ask this icebreaker question in one of our training programs, there’s always a lot of emotion behind the answer. People want to be seen for their gifts and the contributions they bring to the team. And almost everyone feels overlooked about something. By asking this question, you give people an opportunity to share something they are proud of. And of course, most of the time, the rest of the team will chime in with some affirmation, “Oh YOU ARE really good at that! Thank you.”

What is the most important thing you are working on this quarter? How can we support your success in this arena?

Why it’s important: Getting your team talking about their MITs is one of the best ways to build alignment and support. This question is particularly useful in teams where there are conflicting priorities. Often team members are reluctant to ask for help because they know “everyone is busy.” Try carving out a little space for teams to ask for the support they need, and watch how quickly people jump in with ideas of how they can help. Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas that can save a lot of time and get the team working better together.

Who went out of their way to help you this week? What did they do and why was it so helpful?

Why it’s important: There’s a 2-for-1 benefit on this icebreaker. Of course, it’s always good to give people an opportunity to say “thank you.” And, if you send this out in the agenda the week before, no one wants to be the guy at the meeting that’s not mentioned. Chances are the team will be a little extra focused on supporting one another that week. It will feel good to be recognized for it, AND you get more of what you recognize and celebrate, so the cycle continues.

How do you like to be recognized when you do something notable?

Why it’s important: The best recognition is specific, timely and most importantly, meaningful to the receiver. The best way to know how people like to be recognized is to ask. When you ask in front of the team, you give everyone a chance to hear and reinforce the point that celebrating success is everyone’s job and that different people receive encouragement in different ways.

What’s one aspect of your job that really frustrates you. What’s one idea you have for making that easier?

Why it’s important: This is a great way to get your team to eliminate FOSU and shift to a “How can we?” mindset. Everyone’s frustrated about something. Healthy teams talk about what’s not working and work together to find solutions.

What’s your very best idea (or best practice) for improving the customer experience (can also include internal customers)?

Why it’s important: In almost any team we ever work with, there are FANTASTIC best practices taking place and GREAT ideas, that people are just moving too fast to share. If you want your team to share best practices and share their ideas, ask.

BONUS: Click here for more ideas on uncovering your team’s best practices.

What’s one area where you would like more feedback from this team?

Why it’s important: It’s really hard to give your peers unsolicited feedback, and most people don’t. But if you invite people to ask, then the door is open, and team members are more likely to share.

Your Turn

Leave us a comment and share: What ideas do you have for great icebreaker questions to melt frustration and build trust?


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