10 Tips to Boost Engagement During Remote Meetings
Technological advances over the last decade have enabled companies to communicate across time zones and geographical space – an incredible feat that was simply not possible in the past.
With the ability to instant message, video chat and connect in a matter of minutes; the ability to conduct remote meetings is now a possibility for millions of people across the globe! This is wonderful in many aspects, however, there is a downside to relying on technology to connect with others compared to traditional in-person meetings.
The main issue that a remote team may run into is centered around engagement or lack thereof. Let us explain. Generally speaking, if a remote meeting’s attendees become disengaged, they may opt to check emails or follow up on reports instead of listening attentively. And, it’s not entirely their fault. In a virtual setting, any attendee can be susceptible to zoning out and missing pertinent information.
While disengagement during a remote meeting can be common, it can also be a bit unproductive. The good news is that your company can boost employee engagement and host online meetings that promote productivity! Not sure where to begin or how to combat disengagement? Authentic Jobs is here to help! In this article, we’ll discuss 10 ways your company can boost employee engagement during remote meetings, brainstorming sessions, and video conference calls. So, keep reading.
10 Ways to Make Remote Meetings More Engaging:
- For formal meetings, use an agenda to stay on task.
- For informal meetings, consider leaving time for personal conversations.
- Opt for audio-only meetings, occasionally.
- Avoid awkward interactions by engaging small in talk.
- Use visuals to communicate complex ideas.
- Engage employees with questions.
- When possible, ask attendees for their input.
- Host brainstorming sessions with your staff.
- Encourage everyone to customize their background.
- Consider using contests or post-meeting quizzes to incentivize team participation.
Tip 1: Use an Agenda for Formal Meetings
If the meeting is formal or if company leaders need to communicate serious news to employees, an agenda may be necessary.
Why? Well, an agenda can set the tone of a meeting and encourage employee participation. When the agenda is shared in advance, team members know exactly what to expect and can come prepared to share their questions, concerns, or ideas.
Tip 2: Allow time for Non-Work Related Conversations
Did your team just finish an intense meeting? Do you want to create clear lines of communication between colleagues? Virtual meetings can sometimes lead to miscommunication because facial expressions, eye contact, and a person’s attention span can be misconstrued without context. In contrast, during face-to-face meetings, you’d be able to read the other participants’ body language and stay connected to the conversation regardless of the topic.
Online communication is a bit tricky. To keep folks engaged and allow colleagues to wind down, especially after intense conversations, leave time to discuss non-work-related topics.
Personal conversations can be reserved for the last few minutes of a meeting but are necessary for remote participants. After all, connecting on a humanistic level plays a huge role in virtual team-building and quelling any issues caused by miscommunication or language barriers.
Tip 3: Use Audio-Only Calls Sometimes
Video calls are wonderful and can help you connect to your team in a myriad of ways – from sharing a PowerPoint presentation to going over the latest figures from a huge sale. Video calls are undoubtedly important to remote work but every call doesn’t have to be a video conferencing call.
There are times when an audio-only call is the best option. Our advice in a nutshell: use audio-only calls strategically.
Meeting one-on-one with a staff member? Need to communicate a very quick update to your entire team? Bring everyone together on audio-only calls to save time and avoid the technical issues that can arise when everyone is streaming high-quality video.
Tip 4: Avoid Awkward Interactions by Injecting a Bit of Positivity
Sometimes meetings just fall silent. It’s no one’s fault. It can happen during in-person discussions, on audio-only calls, and in video meetings alike. And, it’s quite awkward.
The good news is that awkward interactions can be remedied by using engaging small talk or filling in the silence with company updates.
Not sure what to say when everyone gets quiet? Our advice is to use these moments to focus on the most positive aspects of your company’s culture, recent accomplishments, or successful projects.
Whenever possible, inject positivity into conversations with your team! Emotions are infectious. By spreading joy or congratulating others on a job well done; a meeting’s leader can leave attendees feeling motivated and prepared to face the business challenges that lie ahead.
Tip 5: Use Visuals to Explain
Sometimes talking just isn’t enough – especially when it comes to long video conference calls. Wondering how you can boost engagement during your remote meetings? One of the best tips for engaging video calls is to use visuals to explain complex topics or simply keep the attention of attendees.
Many people are visual learners. Using graphs, charts, photographs, gifs or other forms of imagery can help connect meeting participants to the topic at hand.
Tip 6: Engage Employees with Direct Questions
A simple way to keep individual employees or any remote meeting attendee attentive is to ask them questions, directly. Whenever possible, address employees by their preferred name and ask them about their thoughts on the project at hand.
If time allows, try to evolve the conversation beyond “yes” or “no” answers by asking thoughtful questions. For instance, at your next remote meeting, you could ask employees a variation of the following:
- [Name], would you like to expand on your thoughts about the new program?
- [Name], can we review the ideas you shared on our last few conference calls?
- Can you please elaborate on the challenges and successes you’ve encountered while working on this project, [Name]?
The goal of this type of engagement tactic is not to startle employees or put them on the spot. On the contrary, this strategy can help employees feel more engaged and boost participation levels in meetings moving forward!
So, give it a try! See how your employees respond to thoughtful and direct questions about their performance, project challenges, and ideas for innovation – for many it could be a huge confidence builder!
Tip 7: Ask Attendees for Input
It’s important that participants feel heard during a video call or any meeting so, ask for verbal and nonverbal input whenever possible.
This can be done in several ways – from interactive polls during large team meetings to 5-10 Q&A sessions at the end of video calls. The choice is yours.
Tip 8: Brainstorm Often
Everyone has good ideas and everyone can contribute something to move the needle forward. So, allow employees to share their ideas by holding brainstorming sessions often.
While you can certainly brainstorm at the end of any meeting, consider dedicating time to this specific task. You’ll be surprised at the huge difference brainstorming can make on remote employees’ confidence and sense of camaraderie.
Tip 9: Customize Backgrounds for Internal Meetings
This tip may seem a bit silly but it can be a simple way to keep employees engaged meeting after meeting. How so? Well, what better conversation starter than a cool new, customized video conferencing call background? These days, there’s not much cooler than that!
So, encourage employees to place themselves in work-appropriate imaginary worlds, outer space, abstract paintings, or photographs from their dream vacation spot before joining an internal meeting.
Those who choose to participate can share a hearty laugh over funny photos of cats, marvel over images of volcanic rocks, or enjoy the simplicity of a minimalistic background. The possibilities are endless.
Tip 10: Provide Incentives to the Team After the Meeting
Just finished an important video conference call? Want to see if your newly onboarded team members remember anything about the company mission statement.
A fun way to engage employees could be to hold contests or give pop quizzes after meetings. These should never be taken too seriously or a part of a performance review. However, a quiz could incentivize employee engagement! And, who doesn’t like a small prize for paying attention to a project they’re passionate about?