Remote meetings via video conferencing have become an integral part of today’s business world. Before the COVID-19 crisis, video conferencing was an occasional tool for many, if not most businesses, but not anymore. In the modern world, remote meetings are the primary way for many teams to communicate. Whether you’re trying to sell your product or services to a client or coordinate with your team, remote video conferencing is the way business happens today.
Different rules apply in these meetings than they do in face-to-face gatherings. It’s more difficult to know if your workers are truly participating during a video conference, or to gauge how interested a prospective client is. We have some suggestions for how to engage remote meeting participants that will help ensure everyone has a voice during your next video conference.
How to Engage Remote Meeting Participants: Prepping the Meeting
The first step toward a process to engage remote meeting participants is to leverage a video conferencing solution that allows the tools you need to create collaboration. Screen sharing is an important way to keep everyone on the same page, while text chat features are great for allowing side conversations that would naturally happen during any in-person meeting. Above all, you need a reliable service that your company can count on to keep workers connected.
Make sure you’ve invited everyone and that no one has any trouble logging into the platform. Leaving someone out in the cold could make them feel left out and lessen their engagement in future meetings. If you’re using a waiting room as part of your video conferencing security practices, make sure you let people in promptly and don’t miss anyone.
Try to plan the agenda in a way that engages remote meeting participants. A good way to do this is to get participant input on the agenda items that will be covered in the meeting. Share the final agenda in advance, and, if possible, keep the meeting interesting by breaking up the presenters. It doesn’t matter if the meeting is sales related, training, a brainstorming session, a workgroup, or anything else — remote attendees may disengage and tune out if the same person goes on for too long.
While this may be overlooked, give some thought to who is actually in the meeting. Do you really need everyone from marketing on the call, or should you bring one or two representatives from the department? Sometimes people disengage from meetings simply because there is really no reason for them to be there at all. Make sure every attendee has a participation piece of the meeting, if possible, and that they know why they’re there and what you expect.
How to Engage Participants During the Meeting
Start by explaining the rules of the meeting. Introduce everyone (unless this is a regular team meeting, in which this part isn’t necessary) and then go over the agenda. Explain how people can ask questions so it isn’t a free for all — unless that’s helpful for brainstorming. Ask everyone to turn on their cameras and set that expectation upfront so you don’t have a static picture of someone’s dog through the whole meeting.
Remind everyone of the time the meeting will end and reiterate the goal of the meeting, whatever that may be. It’s a good idea to record the meeting and appoint a scribe (not the host, but typically a moderator) during the meeting that can note some of the important to-dos from the call or perhaps put a sticker (virtually) on a parking lot item to tackle later.
Also, consider appointing a timekeeper to make sure your agenda doesn’t go haywire. This serves two purposes: keeping your agenda on track and also parceling out tasks in the meeting that will give people things to do and keep them engaged.
While you may not be able to introduce everyone in the meeting (or have them introduce themselves), introductions are a great way to increase meeting engagement. Sharing a person’s role is also important to help the employee feel more valued. Given that you want as many people involved as possible, you may even ask someone else to do the introductions and facilitate an ice breaker. The point is to get everyone involved, so they make it their meeting.
Always launch with an ice breaker for remote meetings. Ice breakers are a great way to get people engaged early on while giving you a chance to boost participation in the meeting. Some suggestions for the best ice breaker questions for remote meetings include:
· Where is your favorite place to go on vacation?
· If you could go back in time what year would you choose and why?
· What’s your favorite movie?
· When I dance I look like ___________.
Another trick is to allow some small talk while you’re waiting for everyone to join the meeting. While the host and/or moderator can chat people up as they come into the meeting, it’s a good idea to plant a couple of people in the audience that can do the same. That makes the meeting lively right out of the gate and gets people connected.
Mid-meeting you may feel like attention is lagging and wonder how to engage remote meeting participants. Throughout the meeting, it’s a good idea to keep people engaged by asking for their input. If you notice employees that are hanging back and haven’t contributed, get them involved by asking them for their input. Also, make sure the meeting host is engaging. You’re trying for lively interaction, not boredom, so the facilitator should inject some energy into the video conference. Keep an eye on the chat feature. You may find that the quiet ones in the group are more comfortable speaking up in an instant message.
How to Engage Remote Meeting Participants After the Meeting
Just because the meeting is over doesn’t mean you don’t have a couple of tasks to finish up. Sending a thank you and notes to follow through on after the meeting is a great way to wrap things up. You could even farm this task out to someone in the meeting as another way to boost engagement. Attach a picture of all the meeting participants or a funny meme about the ice breaker and add a link to the meeting notes or recording.
At MegaMeeting, we understand the value of video conferencing as a tool to engage your remote teams. We offer HD high-quality video conferencing solutions that are a secure way to keep collaboration flowing across the miles. Contact us today to find out how our solution can help your business, as well as keep your meeting participants highly engaged.
MegaMeeting solves the biggest challenges of modern video conferencing. For users, it is an all-in-one platform that delivers both video conferencing and webinars in a single, simplified interface. For attendees, it is 100% browser-based, making it highly accessible; joining a meeting is instantaneous from a single click. For enterprises, it is highly customizable, with white-labeling options for a private branded solution. For developers, it is API-driven and easy to integrate.
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