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How to Keep People Engaged in a Virtual Meeting

Running an engaging virtual meeting

We all know how easy it can be to just drift off and disengage in a virtual meeting. What can you do to mitigate this risk in the meetings you’re running? Follow the three steps below to maximise the engagement of your audience on virtual calls.

Step 1: The Right foundation

These are all the things you can do before the actual meeting to ensure a high level of engagement. Firstly, the purpose of the meeting needs to be very clear. Why are you asking for people to get together with you? It really helps if there’s a clear meeting agenda that supports the reason for your meeting.

Also, it is critical to ensure you invite the right people. You can have a very clear agenda and purpose, but if someone doesn’t think they’re the right person for the meeting, you’re not going to get a high level of engagement from them.

It’s probably obvious by now that participants are more engaged in meetings where the video is on for everyone. Therefore, it’s quite important to really stress it in your agenda/pre-meeting communication that the upcoming meeting is a video meeting, so the participants are expected to keep their video on.

Step 2: Start of the meeting

As already stated, people will be more engaged in your meeting if they have a sense of purpose about it. You can boost this sense of purpose if you try to ensure that at the start of the meeting you make sure you engaged each participant or at least each distinctive group/sub-group of participants if the meeting is large in attendance.

It’s also a good idea to remind people of the meeting purpose and the desired meeting outcome at the start. Additionally, let people know that you’re counting on their engagement and participation in the meeting, giving a reason as to why that ties to the meeting purpose. For instance, if it’s a customer discovery in a software sales context, you can remind everyone how crucial the input is in your selection of the right software bundle for them.

Keeping consistent with your remark about video in the invite/agenda, make sure you nicely ask anyone without video to turn it on, perhaps giving a few quick reasons as to why that is a good idea if you think that will be helpful.

Step 3: Running the meeting

Remember that you yourself want to be as engaging in the meeting as possible. So, ensure your crank up your charisma, think about the way you talk, your body language, all that good stuff.

Now, keep in mind that no matter how charismatic you are, participants’ attention spans will be longest at the start of the meeting and towards its end, so plan accordingly with your important points.

To keep people attentive as you get deeper in the meeting, make sure the meeting is as interactive as possible. Try using interactive tools and materials. For instance, things like a virtual whiteboard, running a poll, etc. all work quite well. In essence, you want the meeting to not only be you conversing with others if possible (and hopefully not you doing most of the talking unless the meeting is a webinar to a big group).

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