Getting to know you, remotely

In designing the Friday Retro program, we wanted to encourage our retronauts to make meaningful connections with each other. That’s a really big ask in a group of 10 or more strangers.

We’re using two tactics to foster those meaningful connections.

First, we invite people to turn up 10 minutes early for each retro session. This allows for individual greetings and personal chat while we sort out any lingering technical issues,

Second, early in each session we split the retronauts into small private groups, using Zoom’s breakout rooms with a maximum of three people per room.

There’s no reporting back or summarising for this exercise so it’s a good opportunity for people to:

  • practise their active listening skills
  • and to share their thoughts openly and candidly

Once in the breakout room, we ask the retronauts to:

  • introduce themselves to the others in the group
  • and talk about a specified question

This activity needs a good 10 minutes to really work. One retronaut at our kick-off session commented, “At the start I wondered how on earth we were going to fill up 10 minutes – and at the end, we wanted to keep going!”

That extra energy carries over into the rest of the session.

This activity gives participants a chance to meet and interact directly with each other on an individual level in a safe, private setting. It seemed to work well in our kick-off session – at the end of the 10 minutes, everybody gave this exercise an enthusiastic ‘thumbs up’ rating.

In future Retro sessions we will mix up the small groups so that everybody gets a chance to speak directly with each other.

And of course – if two retronauts find they have things in common, we’ll encourage them to follow up outside the Friday Retro.