Now that many meetings have quickly gone virtual, there's no lack of advice about how to run them productively and efficiently. But there's an emotionally intelligent step that can easily be missed.

Have you checked in with your teammates to ask how they're feeling? Since you can't check in with your team in-person or read body language, it's important to ask.

Brené Brown, the vulnerability researcher and professor whose TED Talk is one of the most-viewed in the world, has a masterful way to ask this question so people will give an honest answer.

Asking people point-blank how they're feeling might not work. How many times have you heard "I'm fine," or "I'm OK," when you know that's likely not the case?

Start team meetings with a quick, two-word check-in.

To gauge how people are really feeling, Brown has her entire 30-person team do a short exercise before kicking off a Zoom meeting. Everyone gives a two-word feeling check-in.

The brilliance of this is two-fold: First, it's super short. It doesn't take long for everyone to give their answer. It gives permission for people to quickly name their feelings without judgement. Second, it acknowledges that we humans often feel many things at once. 

"What I'm seeing right now are these weird paradoxical feelings and emotions," Brown said when she spoke about it on her podcast, Unlocking Us. She used herself as an example. "I am exhausted. I am hopeful. I am weary. And I am grateful."

Practice positive self-talk, even if you're feeling terrible.

Brown's guest on the episode was Dr. Marc Brackett, who runs the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

Brackett said this rush of confusing emotions was normal -- as normal as things can be while you're living and working through a pandemic. In these uncertain times, you can hold space to feel both anxious and optimistic.

"Our brains like to tell ourselves stories," Brackett said. "I think it's a helpful strategy. It's a self-talk strategy. I've got to be hopeful. I've got to be grateful. I've got to get through this. Having that positive self-talk makes all the difference."