Running meetings virtually is today’s norm and likely to continue long after COVID is a distant memory – and aren’t we looking forward to that day! As we moved our lives online, some of the details that make for an effective meeting have started to wane and as a result, the level of engagement, interaction and productivity can be lower. The following are tips to keep engagement levels high:
Sound and Connectivity Quality Matters
We all accommodate poor connectivity and sound quality, however, a year into being virtual, we really can do better. Find a location that has a reliable connection. If this requires you to hardwire your computer, do it. Nothing is more frustrating than coming to a meeting to learn from a thought leader and only hearing every other word. Put on a headset or some form of device that eliminates the echo and ensure you can be heard. Purchasing a good headset is well worth the investment.
More Discussion, Fewer Slides
The value of engagement online comes from seeing the faces of your counterparts. Optimize the amount of discussion time where you can see your audience and the presentation slides are not on screen. It is fine to use 3-4 slides to demonstrate a point or provoke dialogue, but if you go beyond that the audience will start to focus on other work that is flashing on their computer screens. Push yourself and your team to do 30% of the talking and 70% of the listening.
Find Time for Personal Discussion
In a ‘normal’ meeting, there is time for people to talk about the weather, their kids or the latest challenges facing the industry. It is challenging to simulate this banter in a virtual setting, but the more time given for informal chatter at the start of the meeting, the higher the level of engagement during the session. Come with questions to probe with each Customer Advisory Board member and questions that might encourage a larger group discussion as people are gathering. This will build a level of comfort among the participants that will last throughout the meeting.
Virtual meetings are not going away. We need to work together to find ways to make them as productive, engaging and interactive as possible. Let us know your tips for keeping participants engaged.