As we gathered for July's Breakfast Bites, the latest in AQR's series, we were united by a common goal: a desire to master the dreaded remote debrief. Young researchers across the industry, it seems, are keen on tips and tricks about how to engage audiences remotely, whether over the phone or during an unexpectedly well-attended skype meeting.

This session, run by Caroline Florence from Insight Narrator, started with what felt like a group therapy session, as everyone shared their annoyances and resentments about having to present remotely. Awkward silences, distracting background phone noise, the nagging feeling that everyone on the other end of the call has just gone to sleep — these were all raised by the group at least once.

It was very cathartic to discover that all the annoyances I have experienced are identical to those felt by researchers at a similar level. It also reminded me that, apart from the consistently top notch content, meeting your peers is another great reason to attend these sessions.

Once we'd made it clear what problems we wanted to overcome, Caroline was able to reveal her handy set of tips and tricks. Her most helpful bit of advice was possibly how to set up expectations and intentions of the call. Outlining what you hope to do on it and what you want the client to get out of it at the outset lessens the chances of irritating off-topic questions. Giving the client a task also keeps them listening carefully throughout rather than risk their concentration lapsing, which is also going to decrease the number of painful silences.

Among Caroline's other top tips was her FLIP technique, and 'finding point X' exercise. I suspect all of those who attended will be keeping these tricks close at hand at their next remote debrief. And for those curious as to what on earth this particular technique is all about and the exact location of point X, I strongly recommend keeping an eye out for another event run by Insight Narrator.