Achieving Flow in Remote Meetings

Remote meetings can suffer from what we refer to as "traffic jam effects." Maybe someone's internet is dropping, and you keep having to repeat something, or maybe the general pace seems that much slower. These kinds of experiences impact our ability to collaborate remotely.

In our webinar, on the 6th of November, we looked at this problem from a few different angles. We began by looking at some high-level information on the trends of remote work, pre and post COVID. We briefly mentioned our 7 principles for remote facilitation and narrowed in on one, Enable Flow, which was the focus of this webinar. 

Many things can happen in a remote meeting which contribute to the feeling of “stuckness”. For example; technical challenges can interrupt flow as the group waits while information needs to be repeated. Similarly people speaking at the same time or feeling like they can't speak up can create a sense of getting “stuck”. 

If we look outside of meetings to better understand this experience, traffic jams provide a helpful analogy. Sometimes we can see the destination, but progress towards it is painfully slow, and when that happens, it can be super frustrating. It can cause us to feel like getting out of the car and just leaving it there in favour of walking to our destination. Maybe we get frustrated and angry; maybe our chest starts to tighten. It turns out that when we get stuck in remote meetings, our brain might be experiencing some of these same things. 

Our brains are wired to make the experience of closing feedback loops rewarding: it feels good to reach resolutions/achieve “aha” moments. However, if something inhibits us from this closure, the opposite becomes true, frustration, disengagement and fatigue often creep in. 

This is why it's so important to think about enabling flow in remote meetings. And what happens when we get stuck: we want to avoid conditions which lead to disengagement, fatigue, and frustration. We examined the 4 categories of stuckness, and gave some practical methods which can be used to achieve flow in remote meetings. 


  1. Agree on a back channel before hand
  2. Co-create visual documentation
  3. Troubleshoot e.g (maybe switching off camera works) 


  1. Make agenda and session rules visible
  2. Visible instructions
  3. Visually validate outcomes
  4. Root participants in the present


  1. Allow people quiet time to think
  2. Provide participation via writing
  3. Make meeting artifacts visual
  4. Pause and check understanding

Digital fatigue

  1. Make space for breaks
  2. Use energy queues
  3. Consider async


Here you can find the slides from the presentation.

The recording is available on YouTube. Please feel free to share around with your network:)


In our Remote Facilitation Practitioner training kicking off on the 17th November 2020, we will deep dive into more of the principles for remote design and offer real practices that you can put to use immediately. The training includes practical sessions and feedback to help you improve. We look forward to seeing you there!


*Follow this link to view upcoming & past webinars on our website*

How you could accelerate your facilitator journey

Years back when I sought out to work with teams, it was because I was convinced there must be a better way. A better way for us to approach doing the work. A better way that enabled us to openly share our thinking and ideas with one another. And ultimately a better way for us to navigate our way through problems and opportunities together.

I finally had proof of this being a valid conviction when attending CSM (Certified Scrum Master) training. It wasn’t just the concept and the framework that landed for me, it was that I was being taught in an entirely different way to what I’d experienced before – in school, in college, and in the workplace. It was so unlike what I’d grown accustomed to over the years. It was experiential and practical, with a touch of self-exploration.

The environment was somehow designed not only for you to explore the topics that framed the training, you were also exploring your own experiences, thoughts, and beliefs in relation to those topics. I found myself in a constant sea of self-exploration all while engaging and collaborating with strangers whom I’d only just met. Speedily together working at solving for problems and scenarios posed to us. How is it this easy in a room full of strangers? When with my own colleagues, collaboration and taking decisive action remains as cumbersome as herding cats.

What made it so different? How was it enabling such an engaged and collaborative space? What led to a bunch of strangers being able to problem solve together in such a short amount of time? It was the trainers, yes, and more than that it was their facilitation skills! They made it feel so simple and natural, it just worked, and yet it was designed to feel and work that way.

Today I feel honoured to know that I’ve grown capable of designing spaces where learning can thrive. Being able to set the tone for natural engagement and collaboration, even amongst strangers meeting for the first time feels incredible. Knowing that I have the ability to design for how people feel and engage in a space I hold, is both powerful and at the same time scary. Just as I have the ability to influence a space positively, I too have the ability to influence it negatively.

It has taken years for me to cultivate this capability within myself and I wish when I started out on my own journey that there was a course I could have attended to accelerate the rate at which I learnt these skills. So when I was given the opportunity to become an ICAgile Authorised Instructor and teach their ICP-ATF (ICAgile-Certified Professional Agile Team Facilitator) course I went for it.

And yes, while there are some skills that you need as a facilitator which can’t be taught overnight. Skills such as self-awareness and self-management. We’ll teach you how to evolve those skills more explicitly and effectively in the future, all while equipping you with skills which you can directly start to apply on your own.

You will learn about:

  • The mindset and role of a facilitator
  • How to define the purpose and outcomes for facilitation
  • How to design the flow of the process and structure for facilitation
  • How to maintain neutrality and create a collaborative space
  • How to facilitate for full participation
  • How to facilitate collaborative conversations
  • How to facilitate better decision-making
  • How to facilitate Scrum Events
  • Understanding how physical space influences facilitation

My aim in writing this is two-part:

To ignite in you the same need and urge that I had in wanting to enable healthier, engaging, and more creative thinking spaces for people. Beyond that of our every day underwhelming group or team experiences, which I sincerely hope you will oppose and seek to improve from here on out.

And to inspire you to take a small yet powerful step in accelerating your own facilitator journey, by joining us on our upcoming ICP-ATF course, where we’ll help you to grow and develop your facilitation skills and empower you to bring about the same inspiration in others to want their engagements to go from run-of-the-mill to remarkable!

Participants are guaranteed to stay engaged throughout the course, learn by doing, and have fun along the way. Our next course is scheduled for 6 – 9 Jul 2020, from 09:00-13:00 CEST each day.

Click here for more information and to book online.