Over the past few months, we’ve all begun mastering the virtual meeting. What was one a niche skill of a few, is now the go-to way to communicate for companies. However, in part, due to the rapid adoption of the medium, virtual meetings can often be dull and dreary.
We’ve all sat through the meetings where the host drones on and on. Topics meander off into nowhere. Or where you spend the entirety of the virtual meeting starting a screen of blank and disinterested faces.
It doesn’t have to be this way: virtual meetings can be fun and engaging. They can get people involved, sparking conversations and innovative ideas. All it takes is a little imagination.
Well, don’t worry, you do have to do all the work yourself. To get you started, we’ve compiled a few ideas helping to make your next virtual meeting more memorable.
Use the tools available
Part of the benefits of a virtual meeting is the sheer range of tools at your disposal. There’s no excuse for sitting with blank screens. Whatever the topic or tone of the discussion, they’ll be a tool you can use.
Screen sharing, as the name suggests, allows people to share their screens. On a basic level, you can share a PowerPoint presentation, working through your slides like a regular meeting. However, you can also use it to showcase work you’ve been completing, jumping in and out of different software packages. By showing examples throughout a meeting, it gives people a touchstone with which to remember specific points. It’s also a lot more engaging.
You can even use screen sharing to jump between presenters. So, no one needs to carry the burden of being the host for the entirety of the meeting.
Virtual whiteboards are another useful bit of kit. If you want to have brainstorming sessions, open a blank whiteboard. Want to sketch out an idea, when explaining it to the crowd. Use a whiteboard. Or for flowcharts and diagrams, virtual whiteboards are perfect. They have a full range of colours available, so you can even code your diagrams. You can also use it as an icebreaker. A quick game of Pictionary or Hangman is a fantastic way to get a meeting started.
We’re all used to the drab backgrounds of attendees in a meeting. Beige décor or rows of books, it’s all pretty uninspiring stuff. However, there are ways to spice up our meetings’ backgrounds. Use a zoom virtual background to experiment with more fun and livelier backdrops. Using the latest green screen technology, virtual backgrounds replace your drab and dreary background with any one of their exciting options. Choices range from tropical paradises to stylish apartments. Or you can even choose something more professional for the big meeting with a client.
Companies can even decide to opt for a single background for all employees; thereby creating a sense of continuity in a meeting that a client is sure to notice.
You don’t have to sit on the call for the entirety of the meeting. Consider setting challenges or discussion topics. Then assign people into small groups. Have them go away from the meeting and discuss the topic or complete the challenge. They can use messaging services such as Slack or WhatsApp, for such a challenge. After an allotted period, everyone meets back up to reveal what was discussed, sparking further conversations and ideas.
It’s a superb way to break up a meeting, preventing monotony from setting in. Don’t let people languish on a call, becoming distracted. Keep them engaged with a small group task.
There are even options for live polls and surveys, to ease communication when you come back from the small groups. It can be useful for revealing opinions or deciding on where the meeting should go next.
Chunk the meeting
The thought of an hour of talk is enough to faze anyone. You can feel your eyelids sagging at the thought. The best way to get around our natural boredom is to chunk up the meeting. If you have a setlist of objectives to get through, give each one a ten-minute slot. In that time, you need to discuss the topic, evaluate solutions, and decide on a plan of action. By slimming down the time, you focus people’s attention, driving them towards a decision.
Additionally, try to keep the number of points to five or six; if the meeting needs to go on for longer, schedule a short break. It will give people a chance to refresh and come back focused. Or else break up the meeting into two halves. Remember, quality is always better than quantity. Long meetings where nothing is achieved should give way to shorter, focused sessions. It will ensure they are more memorable and enjoyable.