Our current work spaces look different (and more digital) than they used to, especially after working from home became a necessary reality during the pandemic. With teams collaborating remotely, virtual meetings are now a new standard practice among businesses as Zoom calls replace regular boardrooms. This truly is 21st-century living!
Though working from home has had some advantages, we are now facing a new set of challenges in the digital world, including a general lack of “live” feedback and engagement during meetings and presentations.
Let’s face it, it can be hard to gauge the interest levels of your audience when you’re presenting online, especially when participants have their cameras turned off and their microphones muted. But fear not! There are several simple solutions you can employ to enhance any video call. Whether you want to heighten your team’s engagement, or just increase the value of your Zoom calls, we’ve put together our top recommendations to help you level-up every online meeting.
- Prepare Thoroughly
Though it may seem obvious, a little extra preparation can make a big difference increasing the value of your meeting. Going in with a clear objective can help maximize everyone’s time and help others understand their purpose for attending. Even if the goal is to simply have an organic brainstorming session, it’s important to be clear on how you expect each participant to contribute on your call.
If you’re giving a presentation, preparing with diligent research and practicing your presentation in advance will help enormously. Run through your content a few times, review the objective of your call, and be intentional about what you want to accomplish.
- Send Out An Agenda Prior
Rather than a simple meeting title or note that promises further explanation during the actual call, it’s beneficial to send out pertinent information prior. This will allow everyone to come prepared and be aware of the meeting content. This will naturally increase their engagement and speed up the process. For presentations, ask each participant to have one or two questions or comments ready to provide at the end. That way, everyone is much more involved.
- Gauge Audience Interest With Online Tools
Not being able to receive visual feedback from your online audience, like facial cues or body language, makes it even harder to tell whether your content is engaging. When delivering a sales pitch or presentation, it can be particularly difficult to gauge the impact of your words.
Online web apps, like Presentii, can be the perfect tool to measure audience interest and capture their feedback. This web-based service provides an easy to use platform for presenters to capture their audience’s interest levels as they present. The software lets audience members indicate their level of interest anonymously through their personal smart devices and pairs their submitted comments to support those audience reactions. After the presentation, a comprehensive visual graph breaks down all of the feedback for the presenter so they can understand which areas were most engaging and where they can improve. It can be used internally for meetings and presentations, for client calls, for a sales pitch, or any time you want to understand how your content is resonating with your audience. It’s also a great way to keep your audience engaged and even make your meetings more enjoyable.
- Be Efficient
Efficiency is a top priority for businesses and internal communication should be just as efficient. This includes all team meetings when ‘Zoom fatigue’ can be a negative factor in keeping virtual calls focused. Have each meeting participant come with prepared notes as mentioned above, and try to make sure your discussion is succinct. Communicate the amount of time you have to allocate to the meeting at the beginning, so that participants can be mindful of other schedules and stay on track. Try to end a little early to give those rushing to another meeting a little bit a breathing time. Presentations and group calls are most effective when they are well-structured and focused.
- Incorporate Creativity
To balance the demands of virtual environments, and repetitive virtual meetings, find creative ways to engage with your team. Perhaps kick off your meeting with a ‘question of the week’ about their latest TV-binge or their favourite snack. Having a bit of fun or casual conversation at the beginning of your meeting can provide some stress relief and engage employees. People may be more likely to show up on time if they know your meetings start with some spirited competition and lively conversation.
Though online meeting fatigue is real, working from home can be made more interesting for your team and business through the use of some of these simple tips! Level-up your daily calls, and unlock your team’s potential.