Even though it feels as if we've been partaking in virtual meetings forever at this point, it can still be a struggle to keep your team engaged and interested during virtual meetings. It can be tempting to zone out or multitask if not engaged in the discussion and it can be more difficult to get more introverted members of your team to unmute themselves and share their valuable input.
We wanted to share some of the tips we've learned over the past year to keep your team engaged during virtual meetings:
Start with Small Talk or an Icebreaker
Unlike in-person meetings, it can be difficult to make participants feel seen, valued & comfortable partaking in virtual meetings. To overcome this, we have found it helpful to start each meeting with small talk or an ice breaker. This makes sure that every participant knows that their presence is valued and helps to alleviate discomfort creating a safe space for participants to share throughout the meeting.
Ask Participants Directly for Contributions
Especially for your more introverted team members, it can be challenging to get them to unmute themselves and share their valuable input. We have found that asking participants directly for input is a great way to assure everyone stays engaged and their voices heard.
Utilize Tools for Brainstorming, Voting, or Feedback
Virtual collaboration tools have come a long way in the past few years and we highly recommend utilizing these programs in your virtual meetings to improve engagement. Our favorites to utilize are virtual Whiteboards such as Mural, Miro, or the Whiteboard feature in Microsoft Teams, voting or poll taking tools or forms to solicit feedback.
Give Participants Something to Do
Assigning participants tasks is a great way to prevent your team from multi-tasking or zoning out. This could include note-taking, reporting on an agenda item, timekeeper, taking attendance, and more!
Create a "Rules of Engagement" for Virtual Meetings for your Team
Creating general “rules of engagement” for virtual meetings is a great way to set expectations and culture for your team just like you would for in-person meetings. These rules could include for cameras to be on, mics muted unless talking, utilizing the chat or hand-raising feature if someone else is talking, etc.
We could share countless techniques we’ve discovered leading virtual meetings - For more tips on virtual and in-person meetings, join us for our webinar on “Best Practices for Leading Impactful Meetings” on Wednesday, October 13th from 12-12:30 pm.