The strategies and rules that apply to the traditional meetings and conferences seem to fail when you interact virtually.
While online meetings were often frowned upon just in the past, the COVID-19 pandemic has given people worldwide opportunity to embrace to digital platforms to stay connected. However, there is a world of difference between working in co-located spaces and remote locations.
Keeping everyone engaged in a virtual meeting is the most challenging thing to do. You are unaware of where everybody is sitting and what they are doing while you are conveying your message. Besides, there are so many sources of distraction, such as crying babies, barking dogs, or that annoying noise coming from the neighborhood. In short, all that stuff that can steal away all their attention!!
If you are not careful enough, there is a higher possibility that your colleagues or team members leave the meeting and resume their household chores without you ever knowing that. Hence, you should be aware of how to get everybody engaged.
Here are eight powerful tips that you will find useful to conduct successful online meetings:
- State why you are conducting the online meeting
When people are working from home, most of them also have to engage in household activities, like helping their kids attend online classes, nursing their babies, taking care of an ill family member, and so on. Thus, invite only those people who are relevant to the meeting.
Is it about making an important decision? Is it about an urgent update? Or, do you want everybody to just hangout, interact, and revive the team spirit? Whatever it is, it is vital that they know why this meeting is important.
Plus, also be sure about whether you need to see each other or a group call is enough before announcing the online meeting.
- Prepare what you need to say or share
Apart from navigating the software beforehand, have the content and slides ready. It will help you save time that you can use to greet and ease the tension that many people experience in a virtual setting. It will also enable you to convey your message without meandering around lost thoughts. Ensure that slides are interactive and precise. Keep the meeting short and try to be as spontaneous as possible. Remember to warm up your voice.
- Share the meeting protocols
In a live meeting, people know what is acceptable and what is not. But when people know that nobody is watching them over, they tend to ignore all these aspects. So, share protocols for an online meeting and how you expect attendees to behave. For instance, join on time, mute volume while coughing or something loud is happening around, when and how they can leave, and whether or not it is acceptable to eat and drink during the meeting.
- Refer and introduce properly
Whenever you need, refer to people by their name. Encourage every member to contribute to the meeting so that they actively attend the meeting. Ask people to introduce themselves before they speak even if everybody knows each other very well. This strategy makes people more attentive.
- Make the meeting session interactive
The only way to stop people from engaging in daily chores or on personal calls is to make the meeting interactive. Ask questions now and then throughout the meeting and then ask others to share their opinions on the answer given by a participant in the meeting or provide their own suggestions.
- Avoid the dead silence
When a participant reads something or tries to find out the solution to a problem you have presented, it leads to the dead silence. It might confuse other attendees that the meeting is over and some might even sign out from the meeting. Thus, try to fill the weird silence with an update about what’s going on at the moment.
- Keep personal matters out of conference meeting
If there is any issue, subject, or matter that is not relevant to other people in the meeting, then save it for later. For personal conversations, arrange follow-up calls after the conference is over.
- Give yourself feedback
Once the online meeting is over, write down what went well and where you need to improve to better prepare for the next online meeting. Be sure to read it before you conduct an online meeting.
Following these tips can help you conduct your online meeting with no fuss and stress. To become an expert in conducting online meetings successfully, you also have the option to enroll in video presence coaching and training to uncover the secrets of how to grab people’s attention in a virtual setting.