5 tips to create an engaging virtual meeting

5 tips to create an engaging virtual meeting 

Since the pandemic, virtual meetings have replaced not only in-person meetings, but also the organic everyday interactions of a physical workplace. During in-person meetings, you can read facial expressions and body language to see if your team is engaged. In contrast, virtual interactions can be hard to interpret and can sometimes seem insincere or simply transactional.

Connecting with colleagues and clients is crucial to facilitate collaboration in meetings. We’ve compiled some tips below to create a more engaging virtual meeting, so that the time you spend online with your colleagues is more effective and productive.

  1. Smaller is better 

While it may be tempting to invite EVERYONE to a meeting, the best thing you can do for engagement is to keep the group small. The more people there are, the higher the likelihood that some will tune out. If you want to keep everyone engaged, you should encourage them to participate in the meeting. And that is an easier feat when there are fewer people on the call. Additionally, you don’t want a case of “too many cooks in the kitchen” which will also result in nothing getting done. To summarize, don’t cram too many people in a single meeting.

  1. Restructure your agenda

Preparing an agenda before your meeting is essential. The attention span of your virtual meeting attendees is shorter than regular meetings. So begin by structuring a shorter meeting, which means keeping the agenda focused into a few topics. Secondly, instead of the expected agenda of bullet points with all the main topics that will be discussed, draw up an agenda of questions. So if you had “Fundraising Strategies Discussion” on your agenda, present it as: “How will we raise $500,000 this quarter?” This will not only allow participants to be ready with answers to the questions, but it will also serve the dual task of getting them primed to put on their “problem-solving” hat rather than their “listening to a presentation” hat. 

  1. Work on your presentation deck 

The visuals that you use during meeting have been proven to enhance engagement. They also help increase audience attention and memory, and encourage interaction. Try leveraging visuals throughout your meeting to give context or illustrate a point. Also, don’t be afraid to mix it up by using videos and photos that can break up the monotony of text slides to capture your audience’s attention and drive engagement.  

  1. Use the chat feature 

Most meeting platforms have a chat feature. This is helpful if someone in your audience has a quick question. It can be less disruptive to have questions pop up in the chat box. Just make sure you are checking the chat for these questions, so your audience doesn’t feel ignored. The chat box also allows your audience to make comments without disrupting the flow of the presentation.  

  1. Conduct interactive polls 

Get out of your meeting rut by conducting live polls and surveys. Add some fun by showing off your results in real time. Use the polls early in the meeting. This will show attendees that they are not just passive virtual listeners at the meeting. Not only do they keep your audience engaged, polls and surveys can serve as a decision-making tool in virtual meetings, where attendees can vote on how to proceed, for instance.

We need to think about interactive meetings differently. That means knowing that connecting online is not the same as meeting in person. We have to work harder to build an environment of inclusivity and engagement. But, it’s also an opportunity to showcase our creativity and adaptability to connect with colleagues and clients virtually.

If you’re still unsure about how to proceed with your virtual event or are looking for a full-service virtual meeting platform, please contact Erinn Young, Conference and Event Services Manager, OBA Conference Centre.