Many companies and organizations are looking at creative and out-of-the-box techniques that are sure to keep their employees engaged. Something as simple as a chat function can make the difference for engagement and not, as it allows everyone to feel included.
When people began working and hosting meetings online, many felt uncomfortable with going on screen, and a handful preferred to not have their camera on. A meeting software that offers a variety of engagement options allows all to feel comfortable either on the screen or chatting without any added pressures.
Are you facilitating a virtual team meeting? Are you looking for ways of keeping your remote team engaged and part of the community?
Here are 11 suggestions that are sure to help at your next virtual meeting.
Use an awesome online meeting software
How can you keep your team and colleagues engaged in a virtual world? The offering of tools and resources that allow for instantaneous reactions and responses, as opposed to the traditional no chat option or software that doesn’t allow for live interaction. Thanks to platforms such as Dialpad, Zoom, and MS Teams, teams can use these programs and more to not only stay connected but have a productive meeting as well.
Investing in proper meeting software with added bonuses such as games, transcription, and chat can help keep everyone engaged. Dialpad is one meeting software that not only transcribes discussions but can translate as well. Zoom and MS Teams offer preset team games like BINGO that allow for colleague interaction.
Share your agenda and manage everyone’s expectations
Before the scheduled meeting, ensure that you have the agenda shared. Consider even asking colleagues if specific topics they would like to discuss or want to have included. Doing this does not mean that every response you get is going to be included in the agenda. Instead, this simple act of asking for insight is promoting online collaboration. When participants feel they have shared their voice, they are more likely to be engaged in the meeting as a whole.
Make sure everyone knows each other
Once the meeting starts, make sure to do a roundtable of introductions to introduce themselves, their role, or what team they work on. This can help foster teamwork, but it also can help create links for those who may not know who is on their team or what other roles people play in the organization.
As more meetings take place, the introductions can be improved by adding that people could share a goal or something they would like to improve for the week. Remember, creating time for introductions and sharing personal facts fosters online collaboration for remote employees.
Prepare ice breaker questions and small activities
“What’s your favorite color?”
“You are stranded on an island; what is one thing you wish you could have?”
These questions are great ice breaker questions that help foster a safe environment and demonstrate an organization and team’s willingness to promote work-life balance. It’s important during these times that meetings not just be about serious topics. Still, they are about getting to know one another on the team.
Another activity that would be great for team building and for a remote team is BINGO. There are premade BINGO sheets that can be found and downloaded online, or you can take the time to create one based on what you think would be suitable for networking and collaboration.
Ask questions and be open to ideas
Why would a facilitator ask participants questions? Typically, as facilitators, we are the ones that open ourselves to questions; however, sometimes, having some preset questions can help create a discussion. It breaks any possible tension or awkwardness that may be experienced.
Oftentimes, people in meetings may find it unnerving asking or coming up with a question. However, when a facilitator asks a question, it almost helps prompts others to also ask questions.
As well as asking questions, as facilitators, it’s essential to be open and receptive to what may come from these questions and discussions.
Avoid talking too long on screen (use charts, engaging presentations, etc.)
Depending on the meeting platform utilized, some applications can create engaging and visually appealing presentations and charts. It is sometimes forgotten that just because a meeting is being held does not mean that people can keep their focus, especially in a virtual setting. Nowadays, people struggle to stay focused on their screens. It is for this reason that having colorful, engaging content while presenting is shown – this can help participants stay engaged.
Flaunt your friendly side
No one likes a monotone or dry speaker. When presenting or facilitating a meeting, smile, be happy, and show off that friendly, engaging side. This is sure to keep the attention of others; remember that saying positivity is infectious, and if you can be positive during your meeting, this is sure to spread to others.
Acknowledge little victories and team efforts
When management calls meetings, it’s often to talk about areas of improvement or shortcomings. While this is good and sometimes necessary, it is also important to recognize the team’s accomplishments, achievements, as well as the areas that may not have gotten the result intended. Recognize effort, as this helps promote online collaboration and team productivity.
Entertain work-related small talks and chitchats
Having a remote team means there is no chance for those water cooler or lunchroom talk. Therefore, when facilitating online collaborations or team meetings, you should be open to encouraging small talk, whether work-related or not. For employees who may not have met in person or are new to the team, having these off-side small talks can promote a sense of community and add that personal interaction.
As a facilitator and possibly a team leader, it is important when you delegate work, you do so, making sure it suits the employees’ knowledge base. The last thing you want to do is give a task to someone who does not know the topic or feels confident in the subject.
On top of making sure the task suits the person, it is also essential to consider the individual’s workload. Do they already have a lot on the go, or can they handle what you plan on giving them?
Be specific on your future plans
One way of wrapping up your virtual meeting is by outlining future goals and plans. Be specific and set dates or rough estimates on when you hope to have these goals achieved; this way, everyone has something to look forward to but that they also have direction. Creating and delegating goals helps employees know what to expect. Still, also, people prefer to be proactive than reactive in the workplace.
By taking the time to consider these 11 options for creating an engaging and productive virtual meeting, employees far and wide can feel connected in a virtual setting.
With a vast majority of companies juggling remote employees and satellite offices, it is important now more than ever to create and facilitate meetings that are informative and engaging. Taking small actions such as involving participants, outlining organizational goals, engaging on a personal level, and creating an environment for open dialogue is what is going to make for an engaging virtual meeting.