Virtual meetings or “webinars” conveniently connect individuals into a cybernetic team in a single meeting via the Internet. It’s a dream scenario for administrators, directors, and company executives to connect individuals simultaneously with a common objective in mind.
In fact, online conferences are exemplary of the method companies use to take care of business today. With telecommuting becoming more and more prevalent, an organization’s HR department can easily find themselves juggling personnel not only in different parts of their country but from different parts of the globe as well. Granted that we could perpetually extol the virtues of virtual meetings, they are considerably different, perhaps even awkward.
Sure, it’s still a meeting no matter which way you look at it, but…and that’s a huge but, it takes skill to keep an audience engaged and reciprocal, even during face-to-face meetings. Imagine the hurdles of keeping participants interested when all they have is a screen to eyeball. Never mind potential technical issues!
Feelings of Isolation
According to the blog thecouchmanager, “virtual teams may feel lonely without the advantage of interacting with colleagues and supervisors as they would in a typical office.” The article hints that people may miss conventional water cooler banter and the occasional celebration of company promotions. Fortunately or unfortunately, in today’s high-tech world of business, the isolation of remote workers adds one more hurdle to pulling off a successful webinar.
According to recent research in the US alone, one-quarter of personnel telecommute and by 2020, remote workers will increase to three-quarters of American workers. This increase could very well lead to an epidemic of cloistered individuals that view virtual meetings as a means of escape rather than a collaboration of like-minded co-workers. However, all is not lost. There are ways-and-means of keeping online conference participants betrothed and not lose sight of trust in your company’s ideas and goals.
5 Ways to Keep Virtual Meeting Participants Engaged
You’ll have to step-up-your-game if previous virtual meetings have been lacklustre and uninspiring. Let it be known what you expect, capture attendees attention from the beginning, and make introductions short and precise. Keep it moving. Your audience will be more than eager to carry out your expectations because you know how to capture their attention, remain focused, and throw in a bit of humour to boot.
What’s the Purpose of the Meeting?
If participants daydream and wonder ‘why are we here,’ trouble is on the horizon. Be clear about the purpose of your meeting and that a webinar is the most expedient means of covering your topic. Selecting the right subject matter is another crucial step in connecting with attendees. Rundown why it’s in the best interest of participants to attend the meeting. Making clear the advantages of your conference will inspire your audience and keep their interest. To put it another way, don’t hold a virtual meeting for something that could easily be articulated in an email.
Prepping for a Virtual Meeting
As Murphy’s law states “what can go wrong will go wrong” and virtual meetings are no exception. The age of technology hasn’t made things simpler, just faster. If you don’t have a superior connection, all the right tech gear, and someone close by for technical problems, you may find yourself in a hot mess instead of a well thought-out webinar. When fidgeting with new software and equipment be prepared in case it doesn’t work out as planned. Make certain conference participants troubleshoot any technical issues. Various well-designed virtual meeting programs can help you achieve a smooth running webinar. Not to mention, you should write-out a piecemeal plan to rehearse and have a backup plan just in case. Don’t forget about time zone issues!
No Fluff Meetings
An indecisive virtual meeting full of “fluff” will feel like purgatory to team members than a well-thought-out business meeting. Motivate and maintain enthusiasm by allowing participants to steer discussions concerning matters that are germane to them. Steering this kind of approach requires tuning into all declarations and observing who has and has not passed comment.
Time for Play
Yes, that’s right. Playtime can be an essential component when it comes to virtual meetings. According to an article by virtual meeting expert Hassan Osman author of Influencing Virtual Teams: 17 Tactics That Get Things Done with Your Remote Employees, playtime helps you to:
–establish trust among team members
–expand cohesiveness and involvement with colleagues
–acquire a knowledge of team members on an individual and vocational level
Virtual meeting games include fact finding teasers about each participant, a video roundtable, and a spiel where team members share two pictures unrelated to work and spend five-minutes conversing about the photos. Hasan goes on to state that “these types of activities are especially useful for teams working close together who interact several times during the week.”
How to Know if You’ve Nailed Your Virtual Meeting
You’ve walked-the-walk and talked-the-talk, but have you nail your virtual meeting? Here are 3 signs that your virtual meeting was a slam-dunk according to leadership coach Jesse Lyn Stoner:
-Participants feel responsible as a team not as individuals. Joint decisions are a priority with everyone benefiting from the expertise of each participant.
–Communication flow was optimal and the team spoke with each other not only with the webinar administrator. Stoner emphasizes “if everyone is focused on the team leader, the dynamism of the meeting is moving in the wrong direction.”
–Teamwork surpasses individual perimeters. An engaged team realizes objectives in tandem that would not be capable of achievement separately. As a consequence, affinity is strengthened and trust continues beyond meetings.
There are a variety of ways to keep participants engaged during a virtual meeting. Whether your business has an international or national team spread out in differing locations, your company will need to arrange webinars in order to consolidate projects and enhance your company’s productivity. Fortunately, today’s technology makes it all possible; however, you have to put in the work to make sure your virtual meeting runs as smooth as possible.
Note: Above article and its information submitted by a Guest Author.