Online meetings are a way of life now. Even before COVID-19, it wasn’t easy to get people together in the same room for a meeting.
Conflicting schedules, remote workers, and for a host of other reasons, online meetings are a necessary evil. But do they have to be? — evil, I mean? Why we hate them:
- They’re too long
- They’re boring
- They’re one-sided
- They’re often unproductive
- They’re a waste of time
These are harsh statements, but it’s the way many people feel. However, there are ways to make your meetings more enjoyable, productive, engaging, and all-around more energizing!
Be explicit about what your team may expect at this meeting. State clearly what the meeting objectives are, what topics will be discussed, and your expectations of them (roles, “homework,” etc.). If there is pre-work, give it well in advance.
Once the agenda has been set and distributed, stick to it. When your team comes to a meeting with this kind of foreknowledge and preparation, they’re likely to be more engaged and the meeting more productive.
Don’t try to cover such a broad array of topics that your team takes one look at that agenda and suddenly have somewhere else they need to be. Long, drawn-out meetings aren’t energizing; they drain energy.
Consider just one or two objectives per meeting. This isn’t the last meeting you’ll ever have – save the rest for another day. Focusing small will ensure that your objectives are given the time and attention they deserve.
Begin with a bang
Begin with a quick icebreaker. It’s a well-known technique in public speaking circles, to begin with a killer opening or a great icebreaker. It gets the attention of your audience and immediately engages their minds. It doesn’t have to be long or involved.
Try asking them a few quick-fire questions, for example, the circle of knowledge. That’s a method of giving control to your audience in the first minute of the presentation/meeting. The question(s) should be about the discussion or objectives to follow.
Icebreakers can also be funny. If your team are remote and don’t know each other well, a round of “fun facts” could warm everyone up. You could also use MeetingPulse to generate a quick quiz or poll to get your meeting off to an exciting start.
Are you looking for an audience engagement tool like no other? Try MeetingPulse today.
Even more than in-person meetings, online meetings need structure. Inc.com has likened putting together an excellent online meeting to producing a tv program. You need a great presenter, interesting guests, supporting visuals, video clips and stories, and lots of interaction. Done and dusted.
Build in participation
The only thing more boring than sitting still while watching a presenter in person is watching them in an online meeting. The sitting, silence, and lack of interaction make it hard to stay awake, let alone listen and learn.
Make participation a necessary part of the meeting, not an optional add-on. You may consider interactive ideas like the Idea Box Game, where teams actively brainstorm ideas around a product or service. Or Word of the Day, where the presenter weaves a word or phrase into the presentation, and every time the audience hears it, they make a response.
Get the tech right
As with any online presentation or meeting, you need to make sure all of the hardware and software is working and that you know how to work them. At the beginning of a meeting with team members logging on, is the wrong time to realize no one can hear you and that you don’t know to fix it.
Do a run-through early enough that if there’s a problem, you can call tech support. Work with your vendors to ensure the sound quality is perfect, the visuals and videos are good, and everything else runs smoothly.
The right tools
Here again, a software tool like MeetingPulse can make life easier. MeetingPulse features polls and surveys, raffles and quizzes, and live Q&A sessions. It’s user-friendly, it doesn’t need to be downloaded, and it’s scalable.
MeetingPulse also features enterprise-level security — trusted by Fortune 100 companies.
Do you still have questions? Contact MeetingPulse today!
Even online, we need human to human contact. It’s challenging to connect with a photo or blank screen — we need to see each other’s faces. There is a lot to be gained by observing body language (whatever you’re able to see), facial expressions, and gestures. Having a webcams-on policy will also squash the temptation to multitask while the meeting is going on.
Keep it tight
Keep an eye on the time. Your team is much more likely to be energized and engaged in the meeting if they know it won’t last forever.
Knowing that you’re working within a time structure will help the meeting progress at a good pace. You’re less likely to stagnate somewhere if you realize you’re running out of time. Respect their time and yours by setting a start and end time, and sticking to it! They will love you for it (and will show up to the next meeting).
Make a little time for the sharing of success stories. Team members who have met or exceeded company or personal goals can share their experience – briefly. It’s a great encouragement to that team member and a motivator to the others.
Catch them being good
Recognition of successes builds your team cohesion and encourages them individually. Teams who are ignored or neglected expand a lot of energy trying to encourage each other and don’t produce as well.
So if you want your team to be at the top of their game, they need rewards and recognition. A motivated team is happier, more productive, and more positive overall.
“Sell me this pen”
A fun way to end a sales meeting could be to ask for volunteers to act as customer and salesperson. The salesperson can pitch something as simple as a pen to the customer. This should be a quick, fun, and energizing way to finish out the meeting. Perhaps you can offer a prize for the best pitch.
Before the meeting ends, briefly discuss how you (and they) can put into action what you’ve learned. There’s been lots of “what” and “why,” now discuss the “how.” Your team will feel motivated as they have the tools they need for greater success.
To wrap it up
A sales meeting can be a total bore, or it can be a mini-event that your team looks forward to each week/month. If you put in the effort to make it worthy of everyone’s time, it will be.