Virtual meetings can quickly feel like a lecture, and if you’re talking all the time, it’s easy for attendees to check out. But there are a few simple things you can do to make your meetings more interactive.
Start with an icebreaker – something light and unrelated to the meeting. This will help your team members connect on a personal level and build trust in the company.
|Have you tried Meetn, the new online meeting platform?
It’s turning out to become a decent alternative to Zoom and to the other major platforms.
Start with an icebreaker
Whether you’re meeting with an existing group or bringing new team members into a virtual session, using an icebreaker at the start can be a great way to warm everyone up. However, if done wrong, it can be awkward or take up too much time, so choose an approach that’s tried and tested.
For example, try giving everyone a name tag and asking them to find out as much as they can about the person it belongs to (if they’re comfortable doing so). This method is a fun and effective way to get people talking and builds a sense of community.
Alternatively, you could have participants share an internal value they got from their home country with their colleagues – this helps create a more culturally diverse and inclusive team.
Ask for feedback
If you’re holding a virtual meeting, asking for feedback can help keep your participants engaged. But it’s important to know how to ask for feedback that is both useful and actionable.
Start with clear expectations about what your meeting should look like. For example, if you expect everyone to be on video and participating in group discussions, let them know that before the meeting begins.
Also, encourage people to use the chat function to ask questions or raise their hand when they want to speak. This can help prevent them from muting their microphones on entry, which is the message they often get in meetings: shut up until you’re asked. If you’re not sure how to encourage interaction, try using a platform that includes a “raise hand” button and a checkmark feature.
Give everyone a role
Online meetings are a great way to keep everyone on your team engaged, but you’ll need to get creative to encourage participation from introverts and people who might not feel comfortable speaking up in person. One way to do that is to give everyone a role in the meeting.
Roles like leader (facilitator) and timekeeper are common in face-to-face meetings, and they’ll help keep the discussion on track and ensure everyone has a chance to contribute. You might also consider assigning a note taker or chat moderator to the meeting.
Another important part of meeting follow-up is sharing recordings, which can be helpful for anyone who missed the meeting or needs to revisit the content. You should also ask people to check that their audio, video and internet connection is working well before the meeting starts.
Keep to the agenda
Many online meetings go off-track due to a lack of structure. This can lead to long pauses, participants searching for information, or even discussing non-work related topics like politics.
Make sure to draft a meeting agenda and send it to all attendees for reference before the call. This will give them a sense of purpose and let them know what to expect during the meeting.
Consider designating one of your team members to take notes during the meeting and sharing them afterwards. This will help ensure everyone’s voice is heard, even the introverts.
Try using a tool like Vowel to track time during your online meetings. This will allow you to keep your meetings under an hour (which is the recommended length for optimum engagement). It’ll also beep when it’s time to move on to the next item on your agenda.
Don’t forget to tidy up
Just as you should not move around or get noisy during a meeting in person, it’s important to keep your movements to a minimum during virtual events. This will not only reduce the chance of people getting distracted, but it will help participants hear each other clearly.
Visual clutter can also be distracting, so make sure that your space is free from clutter and odors prior to the call. Also, be sure to clear off your computer screen and don’t wear clothes with patterns or prints that could easily show up on camera.
While gimmicks like fun backgrounds and goofy cat faces can add a little humor to online meetings, you can’t get away with using them as an excuse for boring meetings. Take the time to create engaging meetings and you’ll have more motivated team members and better projects.