The initial shine and novelty of online meetings has faded. For many, the cameras are off and throwing a question out to the room means hearing the sound of crickets chirping.
The challenge is keeping people engaged, off their phones and poised at the space bar, ready to unmute when a question is asked. Easier said than done, but here are some tips we use to make our online meetings with clients more effective and engaging.
Set clear goals for the meeting
Engagement will be much higher if people know what they are meeting about the desired outcomes. Set these in the meeting invitation and at the beginning of the meeting. Many people are more willing to participate if they’ve had a chance to prepare.
Start with some banter
Everyone loves a bit of banter. It lightens the mood and gives everyone a laugh. Just like you did in “in person” meetings, encourage banter at the start of your meetings, the few extra minutes of chit chat will lift spirits and strengthen relationships and culture. The meeting host will be responsible for bringing it back to the topic at hand at the right moment.
Create a ‘chat captain’
Ask someone each meeting to be the ‘chat captain’, whose role it is to encourage and moderate the chat in the meeting. This will encourage participation from shy team members and also reduce the temptation to look at phones and email. It also ties in nicely with the banter, as that chat is often where lots of in-jokes are made. This also means the facilitator can focus on running the meeting.
Cameras on rule
Making cameras mandatory is a must. Meetings without cameras are the equivalent of someone hiding behind the door in a face-to-face meeting.
Use interactive tools and questions
We’re all human, we get bored easily. The longer the meeting is, the more interactive activities you need. Using online quiz website Kahoot, Jamboard for brainstorming, polls and breakout rooms for smaller group discussions are all ways to maintain interest and engagement. Powerpoint is great for sharing information however they can get tiresome quickly and it also means you “see” less people so remember to stop sharing throughout long presentations so you can ask questions and generate conversation.
We Are Savvy run lots of online workshops and networking activities so give us a call if you are looking for some advice or tips on how to make your meetings and workshops more engaging.