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12 Strategies For Engaging And Effective Virtual Meetings

12 Strategies For Engaging And Effective Virtual Meetings

By Olve SmithPublished 6 months ago 5 min read

47% of companies have reduced their travel expenses by embracing virtual meetings. 79% of recently polled professionals believe virtual meetings are equally or sometimes more productive than in-person meetings.

The success of your virtual meeting depends on how well you prep for it. Here are 15 strategies you can use to ensure every meeting succeeds.

Avoid Generic Icebreakers

Who wants to talk about their weekend for the 47th time? Avoid using generic and routine icebreakers to kickstart the meetings.

Spice things up! Have a quick quiz on random celebrity birthdays, challenge everyone to build the tallest tower with office supplies, or unleash your inner karaoke champion with a virtual sing-along (muted mics optional). Laughter breaks the ice and sets the tone for a fun and engaged atmosphere.

Have a Clear Agenda

Don't let your meeting be directionless. Create a clear agenda before the meeting that addresses the main points. The agenda will be your virtual meeting blueprint. Make sure you stick to it to avoid digressing and get the expected results.

Share it beforehand, highlight key points, and give each discussion its own time slot. Think of it as a roadmap leading everyone towards a productive destination without anyone getting lost in the information wilderness.

Encourage Everyone To Participate

For your virtual meeting to succeed, you must encourage all attendees to participate in the conversation.

Sprinkle in some participation magic instead of relying on the same old voices. Use breakout rooms for smaller chats, ask open-ended questions, and actively encourage quiet, laid-back colleagues to chime in.

Everyone has something valuable to contribute, so create a space where all voices can be heard, regardless of their position and video quality.

Confirm The Technology is Working Before the Meeting

Don't let technology ruin your virtual meeting. Test your audio and video beforehand, banish unnecessary apps to the digital abyss, and have a tech-savvy expert on standby for internet meltdowns and other unforeseen tech challenges.

Remember, a smooth-running meeting is a happy meeting, so minimize the tech hiccups and maximize the productive vibes. But when they do come up, quickly apologize to the rest of the attendees and keep going.

Use More Visuals

Let's face it; staring at a static slide deck for an hour is about as exciting as watching paint dry. Spice up your presentation with captivating visuals!

Use infographics, short video clips, and even funny memes, but keep it professional and work-related. Make them appealing and memorable for your digital audience. If unsure about a particular visual, consult other team members before including it in your presentation.

Also, use a virtual background creator to create a formal background for your virtual meeting. It will help set the mood for the meeting by creating a professional setting.

Allocate Time For Breaks

Schedule short breaks every hour to let your team recharge. Encourage a quick stretch, a virtual coffee break, or even a silly "show-and-tell" of interesting home office decorations.

Remember, a rested brain is a productive brain, so give your colleagues a chance to escape the digital conference and recharge. Use a timer to ensure everyone gets back to the meeting on time to stay on schedule. You could ask them to suggest how long each break should be and the intervals to create a conducive environment for all.

Leverage the Mute Button

We've all been there. The colleague who forgets to mute their mic while munching on chips, the dog bark symphony, the neighbor practicing their kazoo solo.

These background noises can be the virtual meeting equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. Gently remind everyone to mute their mics when not speaking and encourage the use of headphones to minimize distractions.

A peaceful soundscape leads to a peaceful mind, making for better decision-making. Keep this in mind when preparing for your next virtual meeting.

Use Humor To Spice Up Your Meetings

Don't be afraid to inject a little humor into your online gathering! A well-timed joke, a funny GIF shared in the chat, or a lighthearted anecdote can break the ice, ease tension, and boost morale.

Laughter is the universal language, even in the pixelated landscape of virtual meetings. Just ensure your humor is appropriate for the workplace and avoid anything that may be interpreted as offensive or insensitive. A sprinkle of silliness can go a long way in making your virtual meeting more enjoyable, productive, and memorable.

Appreciate Your Colleagues

Sometimes, virtual meetings can feel a bit impersonal. Avoid this feeling by acknowledging your colleague's contributions, celebrating small wins, and giving shout-outs to those who went above and beyond.

Remember, a little recognition goes a long way in boosting morale and fostering a sense of teamwork. Use this hack to encourage participation and motivate other team members to work harder and smarter.

Encourage Questions

Don't let your meeting become a lecture hall where only the designated speaker talks throughout the meeting.

Encourage questions throughout the discussions! Use tools like hand-raising features or chat prompts to make asking questions easy and accessible for everyone.

No matter how you perceive a concept or discussion, consider every question an opportunity for deeper understanding and innovative solutions. Picture your meeting as a collaborative puzzle, where everyone's piece is essential for completing the picture.

Thank Them For Attending The Meeting

Don't underestimate the power of a simple "thank you." At the end of your meeting, thank your colleagues for their time, participation, and valuable contributions.

A sincere thank you is the cherry on top of a productive virtual gathering, leaving everyone feeling appreciated and valued.

Go further to foster collaboration by encouraging the attendees to share a link or QR code of their digital business cards. The digital business card will enable them to share contact information and network better seamlessly during and after the meeting.

Ask For Feedback

Encourage your colleagues to share their thoughts on what worked well, what could be improved, and any suggestions for future virtual gatherings.

Concisely, feedback is a gift, and open communication is the key to continuous improvement. Think of it as fine-tuning your virtual meeting engine for even smoother and more productive engagements.

Conclusion

The transition to virtual meetings has proven to be a transformative and cost-effective approach for many companies. These strategies transform virtual meetings into opportunities for enhanced collaboration, productivity, and success. Use them to make your next virtual meeting more engaging and productive. Good luck!

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    OSWritten by Olve Smith

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