Virtual meetings, often known as virtual conferencing, are meetings held in a virtual setting rather than face-to-face.
It's something we've all become accustomed to.
Whether you love it or hate it, that's a personal opinion.
However, in this article, we'll discuss ways that you could spice up virtual meetings.
Of course, take them with a pinch of salt.
Employees likely aren't going to appreciate meetings become extra long due to you trying to make them more fun.
However, in some companies, VR meetings might just blow up.
So it really comes down to what your organization is like.
How to make a Virtual Meeting more Interactive?
For the past ten minutes, you've been speaking into a laptop camera. On the screen, you see that your other guests appear bored, disinterested, or distracted.
When you ask a question and there is quiet, you clench your teeth and rush through the presentations, trying to get it over with as soon as possible.
Virtual meetings have become an important aspect of employee engagement and connection as remote work becomes the new normal.
On the other hand, they have a persistent drawback: without an in-person connection, it's more difficult to generate a communal mood, and it's easier for individuals to become distracted and tune out.
In this article, I'll discuss several techniques for making virtual team meetings more enjoyable, engaging, and interactive.
Determine if a Meeting is Necessary to Achieve the Objective
Not every meeting is required!
A virtual meeting should be used only for productive engagement such as conversation, problem-solving, collaboration, personal connections, and feedback.
Clearly stating the purpose of each meeting might assist you in determining if the effort necessary to attain that goal merits synchronous collaboration. A productive virtual meeting is one in which team members collaborate to complete tasks.
Choose the Right Technology
Examine your schedule to choose the best platform to employ. The best platform for a short "check-in" might not be the ideal platform for brainstorming or making decisions. Therefore, you need to find a way to make it easier, and what can be better than using tools to schedule meetings!
You can choose from several virtual meeting platforms, including:
Allow team members to get into the correct attitude before the meeting begins by defining expectations for their involvement.
Request that all participants be in video call mode and a peaceful (or at least a secluded) place throughout the meeting; and establish basic rules for behavior, such as "thou shall put aside cellphones and not concentrate on other activities."
Starting sessions with humorous icebreaker questions or game is one approach to get your group and all online meeting attendees engaged.
It will make all distant colleagues feel involved early in the conference, almost as if they were in the same room. Getting everyone involved right away can lead to increased participation throughout the conference. When team members are familiar with one another, they work better together.
This may be challenging if some of your team members have never met other members before and lived far apart, not seeing each other at work every day. Friendships form organically or with the support of company trips and activities when colleagues are physically present.
Enabling some time for small chats and relationships before launching into the meeting is vital for parties separated by miles, time zones, and sometimes even national boundaries and cultures.
Getting Everyone Involved
One of the most difficult aspects of virtual meetings is that attendees may find it difficult to participate and contribute. As the facilitator, it's your role to make sure that everyone on the team has a chance to speak up.
During the conversation, take a few moments to halt and solicit feedback from the audience. Ask everyone to remark on the topic using the Round Robin Method. This helps you keep track of people's emotions and attention levels by encouraging them to stay engaged.
During the conversation, provide a quick list of expectations (such as no multitasking) to ensure that everyone understands what will be permitted and what will not.
If you set expectations from the start, no one can argue that you didn't tell them when they behaved badly or when you saw they weren't paying attention.
Pause as you ask questions or request opinions
When it comes to virtual meetings, there is usually a second or two of delay.
Pausing for a few seconds after each point or question you ask is a useful remedy here. Anyone who wishes to add something can do so without interrupting you.
Don't wait until the meeting is almost over to inquire about questions if you want to leave it with a clear knowledge of duties and the next steps moving ahead. And just asking, "Do you have any questions?" may not be the most effective technique to obtain feedback.
Consider addressing a specific inquiry to a specific coworker. Consider shouting out names as you go through everyone's perspective in the virtual room. Here's how to do it:
❌ Let's get everyone's thoughts on this new idea right now. Who wants to be the first to go?
✔ Let's hear everyone's thoughts on this new idea right now. James, how about you go first, followed by Peter and Alexa.
This reduces the chances of people talking over one another.
Visuals make your virtual meeting better
Follow best practices by using visuals and get your attendees engaged. Visual stimuli are hard-wired into the human brain. We have an innate reaction to visuals, and we can decipher facial expressions and body language faster than we can read every word on a Presentation slide.
Moving items, like the dogs in the movie Up (squirrel! ), can have a greater effect. So, how does this affect online meetings? It means that integrating some short films or engaging your audience with a range of visual information may be beneficial.
In some research, visual learning trumps auditory learning and recall. Visual cues elicit emotions and aid in the retention of knowledge. An infographic is sometimes a better approach to deliver information to a large group of people.
You may lead a discussion around an image to assist team member to reach a common understanding of a problem. Your audience may connect with data in a unique way when you use visual material. Plus, how can you say no when you can include a brief video of otters shaking hands?
Keep them short & sweet
Keep conferences between 15 and 45 minutes long to ensure that everyone stays engaged and gets the most out of their time.
If you can't get through all of the talking points in that amount of time, perhaps extra preparation is needed before the session.
Long meetings will dull and squander your team's time. The ideal formula for greater productivity is short and simple.
Make time for casual conversation with Team Members
Before plunging into a meeting, a few minutes of casual chat may really help to develop the required chemistry for a good sit-down—and keep the team interested when the subject shifts to business chat.
“You don't have that face-to-face [contact] in virtual situations, so you have to work twice as hard to build that trust and rapport,” Galindo adds. “So, in a virtual world, I feel that you have to be very deliberate in generating it.”
Spend a few minutes at the start of the meeting checking in with everyone, catching up on what's going on in the office, or simply making small conversation. It will not only increase employee engagement but will also build your company's culture and build your relationship with your employees.
Remote Team Building Activities, Games, & Ideas
Remote teams can benefit from team-building activities to feel as close as on-site teams. This is especially true if you develop crowd-pleasing virtual team-building events using purpose, vision, and excitement.
There are several in-person virtual team-building activities that you may apply when managing a team in a typical office setting.
However, when it comes to ice breakers for virtual teams, you must be more inventive. Your virtual team-building activities should be enjoyable and interesting for your team member without making them cringe or roll their eyes.
Below I have listed some of the fun remote team-building activities and virtual events you can conduct to keep the team meeting interactive and engaging.
Use gamification to make a virtual meeting more interactive and fun
Incorporating gaming elements and fun games might be the difference between a good online presentation and a great one. Why not use gaming elements to create a genuinely memorable interactive presentation? It is a fun team-building activity to add gaming elements to your meeting.
Let's face it, the video game industry knows a thing or two about interaction. Poll Everywhere Competitions are a smooth method to gamify audience interaction in your online meeting.
Attendees will be scrambling to hit the button since points are awarded based on accuracy and speed. They may also keep an eye on the live leaderboard to keep track of their progress in the game. We can also use online games and quizzes as a team bonding activity.
Use actual awards, if possible. The possibility of winning anything adds a competitive edge as well as a sense of surprise.
Out of band games
Asynchronous or turn-based games are ideal for playing on different schedules. In the meeting, you can share the game's outcomes.
Games like a picture competition, where you have to take a portrait or find a missing object, or a cookery challenge where you have to utilize a difficult ingredient, are entertaining ways to keep the enthusiasm going from one meeting to the next.
This technique may not work for every meeting format, but try if you can include it into one of your all-hands or team updates on the agenda.
A photographic challenge is a terrific method to enhance engagement and connects your remote teams if your virtual team is made up of more visual or creative learners and it can be considered a great virtual team building activity.
A remote teams member may show off something unexpected using photos, which are a basic form of self-expression. Encourage the team to show an impressive photo — something that captures their lifestyle, a passion, or their family, for example — and ask them to describe why they chose it.
Employees may vote for their favorite after the entire group has shared a themed gift at the end.
The most difficult aspect of remote video chats is keeping participants involved and interested. Feel free to use the recommendations and ideas above to help you solve this difficulty. Remote teams are much tougher to handle.
It's crucial to remember, though, that thinking outside the box and trying your own solutions may actually assist with attendance engagement.
Simply being excited and driven is the greatest approach to make your team-building activities entertaining and interesting.
Online meetings aren't usually a large part of a meeting's agenda, but they aren't going away anytime soon. Virtual meetings are an important aspect of any meeting program, and many firms rely on them.