Keeping everyone’s attention during a meeting is easier said than done. Even the best leaders and meeting organizers can attest that pulling this off will require creativity and organization.
This is true not just for in-person meetings but for online meetings as well. Since we’re living at a time when virtual conferences are fast becoming the norm, it’s crucial to understand how you can keep everyone engaged even if you’re in different locations.
Below are a couple of suggestions that should help you accomplish this goal.
Test your technology in advance
The last thing you need is for technology to ruin your meeting which is likely to happen if you do not test them in advance.
Things like slow internet connection, computer crashes, and camera malfunction aren’t far-fetched but with due diligence and preparation, they can be avoidable.
Restart your machine before the meeting begins, test the camera and the microphone if they’re working. More importantly, have a backup internet connection on stand by like pocket wifi or data from your phone.
2. Come up with ice-breakers
People may not be comfortable speaking at first especially if everyone in the meeting is a total stranger. This is why it’s important to break the ice to get them to participate and engage.
Ask questions, get them to introduce themselves, or come up with quick ice breaker activities like mini-games or quizzes to get rid of the awkwardness and make them more comfortable.
3. Always refer to your agenda
We all know how important an agenda is to a meeting. It sets the tone for what is to be discussed and generally dictates the direction the meeting will take.
That being said, keep the agenda visible on screen all the time and make sure to time them so you can get through each of them without going overtime.
Apps like TimeZap does a good job of helping you time, not just the meeting, but each agenda you’re planning to discuss.
4. Encourage participation
The best way to keep people engaged is to get them to actively participate in the meeting. The good news is there are a lot of ways you can do this.
One way is to send the meeting agenda in advance then ask everyone for their suggestions or if they have additions they would like to tackle.
Another way is to let everyone know if they are expected to present and how long. This way, you’d give them time to prepare and share valuable information during the meeting itself.
Assigning tasks to participants is also another way of keeping them engaged. By giving people responsibilities like managing slides or taking meeting minutes, they’d be more glued to the discussion instead of doing non-work-related stuff.
Lastly, allow everyone to speak. Ask questions as often as you can, encourage everyone to contribute to the discussion so no one would feel left out.
5. Close every meeting with follow-up steps
Just because the meeting is over doesn’t mean the work is too. It’s good practice to always hand out a list of action items or projects that need to be delivered.
Just make sure to specify a time and date of completion as well as the time for the next meeting where the person in charge will update everyone on the progress of the said project.
To wrap things up, send out a feedback survey after the meeting so you can clear up any confusion or outstanding items.