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5 Rules For Engaging People In Virtual Meetings

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Since the start of the pandemic, people have learned to use online platforms to communicate and have meetings with their businesses. However, having virtual meetings is often harder to get your employees engaged in. Since everyone is at their home, it can be hard to see who is paying attention and contributing.

Introduce everyone

Your employees might not like to have their screen or audio on and that’s fine in most cases. However, having everyone introduce themselves at the beginning of the meeting will make them more engaged.

If you are not using video or there are absent people, have everyone use a photo of themselves as their screen icon. This way people can match a face to the voice and position the person has in the company.

This should also make people more open to sharing ideas and participating.

Give everyone a task or a job during the meeting

The easiest way people disengage is when they don’t need to actively be doing anything. It is easy for their mind to wander or for them to start doing other things around their home. Make sure to change the roles often so that people don’t feel stuck with one duty.

Someone can be the timekeeper or a scribe. Having someone do meeting minutes is also an important task. Recording these will keep the person busy and also allow for there to be a brief of the meeting sent out when it’s done.

Create a follow-up

This is a great way to use the meeting minutes that were recorded. You can send the minutes out with the follow-up requesting everyone to give feedback and ideas. It also shows the minute recorder that you used for their task.

Remember not to give out tasks just for the fun of it to keep people engaged. Try to create tasks that are meaningful so that people feel like their contributions are not a waste of energy and time.

Ask for participation

The best way to get participation is to ask for it. If your employees and meeting invitees know that you ask for advice and solutions, they are more likely to listen so that they have answers when you ask for them.

Asking for participation though shouldn’t be nerve-wracking for those in the meeting. You can use some simple questions to keep people engaged and see where they are at mentally.

Try asking:

Is there anything you think we could change to make this better?
What part of this project do you find interesting, and would you like to work more in that area?
Are you happy with the outcome of this project?

This makes employees more likely to talk because you are asking for their opinions, and they almost always want to share them.

Have a little small talk and reminder session

At the beginning of the meeting, engage in some small talk for a few minutes. Your employees probably haven’t seen each other for a while or maybe have never met so making some small talk can make them feel better connected. Don’t overdo it or make it drag on for too long though.

Then, before jumping into the meeting, try to remind everyone why the meeting is taking place and reinforce the goal. This will ensure everyone has a clear picture of what will be discussed.

Closing up

Virtual meetings have become the new normal and your company’s engagement with them will affect your efficiency and performance. Make sure everyone knows who is in the meeting, their tasks for the meeting, and the goal for the meeting.

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