Are you discovering that virtual attendees to your meetings are zoning out or disengaged with your content? As the world becomes more dependent on video conferencing, you must remember that the average person has several virtual meetings every week. It’s difficult for people to dedicate their full attention to a webinar when the format is monotonous and one-sided. Today we will share a few ways to keep your attendees engaged and make your virtual meetings more fun.
Set a Strict Time Limit For Your Meetings
The best way to determine a time limit is to prepare an outline of the content you wish to cover. Plan to touch on the topics you want to discuss with ample time to interact with your audience after each topic. Once you have a good idea of the topics you’ll cover, do a practice run to see how long the meeting will take with all the content included. Be sure to practice at a moderate pace and don’t try to cram too much information into one session. Time management is crucial as you learn how to facilitate group meetings.
The sweet spot for meetings is between 30 to 45 minutes. Research shows that the average attendee begins to lose focus at around the 30-minute mark, with attention dropping even more at 45-minutes. By sticking to a shorter time frame, you signal to the participants that you value their time and appreciate their attendance. If you control the amount of content in the virtual meetings, eliminating unnecessary material will give you better responses and overall engagement.
Open Your Meetings With an Icebreaker
The very best way to set the tone for a virtual meeting is to start with an Icebreaker. The goal of an icebreaker is to increase the connection between participants and make them comfortable enough to speak in front of others with confidence. Plan to spend 5 to 10 minutes making sure that all your attendees are relaxed. This strategy will make it much easier to discuss the important topics that your meeting will cover.
Be prepared to ask your audience a couple of creative questions that will catch them off guard and cause them to think. If you’re conducting a virtual meeting, you should have a good idea of who your audience is and what they expect. Take into account your attendee’s personality, demographics, and sense of humor. You can ask them fun questions that they will enjoy answering and help them be more comfortable with each other. Getting people to engage immediately will increase participation levels throughout the session.
Keep Attendees Engaged With Polls And Questions
Polls and intuitive questions can be the magic dust your virtual meetings need the most. Sprinkle them throughout the session and encourage greater participation from your attendees. The best thing about these two angles is that you can preload them into your presentation and deploy them at the right time. Creative polls and survey-style questions will make your attendees feel more valued and boost morale. If you allow them to share their opinions and thoughts, you’ll be well on your way to a highly engaged meeting.
The objective of creating polls is two-fold. Not only does it increase engagement, but it also gives the presenter an idea of the level of understanding the audience has at that point. Polls and questions let you know what hurdles or obstacles your attendees need to overcome to make your virtual meetings more effective. If most participants are unclear on your topics, you can provide more detail to eliminate any misunderstandings. When done correctly, this process will ensure that everyone is on the same page when it’s time to conclude the session.
Encourage Attendees To Share Their Backgrounds
The backgrounds that attendees display are a very effective way to increase initial engagement and increase bonding. Most people love to show off their interests or the style of their homes. If they are uncomfortable showing off their workspaces, they can use a virtual background that shows their particular flair or interests. Encouraging attendees to use a virtual background or providing them with one, can make for great conversation starters. When attendees feel confident, it can ramp up engagement and participation throughout your entire virtual meeting.
Several web conferencing platforms provide virtual backgrounds in their software. Companies such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Skype and Cisco Webex will give attendees different background options. If you provide attendees with virtual backgrounds, you will immediately eliminate any fear or negative thoughts concerning their workspaces. Everyone wants to present a positive and professional image. If you’re not using a platform that provides these features, it may be time to consider other options.
Incorporate Gamification Into Your Virtual Meetings
According to Forbes, 2.5 billion people play games on their mobile devices and that number is expected to grow significantly in the next few years. With numbers like these, it’s obvious why gamification has become so popular. This powerful strategy allows you to integrate game elements into your virtual meetings to increase participation. The truth is that people love to win, and your attendees are no different. Offer a nice reward or a prize for the person or group that is the most engaged.
Once you have a winner, celebrate them in a special way. It will give your attendees a happy memory and increase anticipation for your next virtual meeting. To effectively implement gamification into your next video conference, you can create contests or use event app software. Many of these software programs offer you pre-made games with templates that allow you to customize them for your next virtual meeting.
We hope these five different ways to increase engagement and participation help you make the most out of your next virtual meeting. Now, go out there and get creative. Your attendees will look forward to your meetings and you’ll be glad you put in the extra effort.