Online meetings are becoming a way of life since the arrival of the global pandemic. Technology makes it possible for colleagues to come together to achieve common goals. Modern businesses rely on this new form of communication. Unfortunately, virtual conferencing can fall short of ensuring all participants are fully involved and invested. There are some steps you can take to make your next even feel more authentic. Read on for tips to keep everybody engaged during an online conference.
Give Ice Breakers a Try
Ice breakers may seem outdated and corny, but they serve a few important purposes that can be quite relevant to online meetings. Using an ice breaker gives you a chance to get everyone involved from the very beginning. It can set the mood and raise energy levels. Ice breakers show that you’re interested in hearing from every team member and can encourage participation. There’s also the convenient purpose of allowing folks to introduce themselves if they don’t already know each other. Plus, they can be fun.
Check Your Body Language
If you’re leading the meeting, the way you present yourself can significantly impact participants. Participants will be more engaged when they take their cues from you. Your body language says a lot and can give off important non-verbal cues to your audience. Your natural movements help your team to connect with your message. Try to use your everyday gestures and facial expressions. Keep your posture open and inviting. And, of course, look at the camera to give a sense of eye contact. All of these small actions will invite engagement and participation.
Watch Your Tone
It may seem obvious that you should be aware of the tone of your voice. However, meeting presenters often forget to pay attention, and it can become easy to fall into a monotone. You’ve probably been in such meetings. They’re boring, and almost no one is excited to participate. One of the best ways to keep everyone interested and involved is to switch up your voice tone to match your presentation. Changing the rate, volume, intonation, and even pitch of your voice will help attendees pay attention and take in your message. Add strategic pauses for emphasis or to allow processing when necessary. Your vocal tone displays your feelings. Let your team know you’re passionate, excited, and motivated so that they can feel those things as well.
Vary Your Technique
No one wants to be spoken to for an hour with no reprieve. Instead, use various engagement techniques to break things up and get your team actively involved. You can use slides with exciting visuals to help portray your message for visual learners as well.
A program like Connex virtual meetings can allow you to do that, along with other things such as interactive polls and chats. Plan ways to get things back on the rails if it seems your team is losing interest or tuning out. Ask pointed questions or request feedback on a particular topic. Assign brainstorming sessions. Ask individual members to come prepared to share their expertise or insights. Even allowing a short break might help break things up a bit and help your audience come back refreshed.
Virtual meetings are unlike ones at the office. There may be interruptions in people’s homes, such as the doorbell, an energetic pet, or an upset child. Be sure to let your team know that everyday life issues are expected and that you’re flexible about such things. This will allow them to let their guard down and be more present during the meeting. When such interruptions occur, it can even be fun to take time to recognize and acknowledge pets or children. It emphasizes everyone’s humanity and can serve as a nice break in the meeting.
Make It Personal
Virtual meeting settings can seem impersonal. You’re not able to pat someone on the shoulder or give a high five to show support for their contribution. Handshakes aren’t happening. Small talk between sessions can fall by the wayside. Try to bring as much personalization into your meetings as possible. Use first names. Ask for feedback or suggestions.
These tips should help to make your online conferences more engaging and exciting. Give them a try, and feel free to make modifications based on your style.