Meetings are an important part of the business world. Whether it is a scheduled review or an important product issue, online meetings help to connect fellow team members. It facilitates business stakeholders and employees at different locations to come to the same page to discuss important issues without the need to be physically present. Do you know that 94% of businesses agree that virtual meetings help them increase productivity?
Further, online meetings are a part of the new normal professional behavior post the covid-19 crisis. The popularity is on an all-time high as video conferencing giant Zoom has reported 300 million daily active participants in November 2020. However, it all comes down to the quality time spent in the meeting and decisions taken after that. Before jumping to the quick ways to make your online meetings engaging, it is important to know billing software is worth it.
Why make online meetings interactive?
Just because businesses conduct online meetings, it doesn’t mean that they can go with the flow. Like other business processes, online meetings need to be fruitful and productive. Do you know that the bad meeting organizations may cost businesses around 399 billion USD yearly?
The lack of physical interaction may have already taken a toll on the employee’s performance, and the virtual meetings are the perfect game-changers. Businesses shouldn’t forget that virtual meetings are the catalyst in bringing different teams and remote working employees together. Any loophole in conducting these meetings may take a toll on the business’s productivity, and it is crucial to make these meetings highly engaging and interactive.
Engaging your team members, stakeholders, and vendors can be challenging for any business. While effective technological investment like billing software can do its part, there is no point in arranging back-to-back meetings when the attendees are not ready for it. Thus, it starts by looking for realistic ways to engage the online interactions to get the best out of these meetings.
Top realistic ways to make virtual meetings highly interactive
If any business is looking to eliminate those poker faces from the virtual meetings, some work has to be done to make these meetings exciting, interactive, and, most importantly, productive. Some of the tried and tested ways to let these meetings work for you include:
Eliminate technical issues
Technical difficulties may remain the first hurdle in making any online meeting successful. The glitches during the virtual meeting may also make the audience lose track of the meeting and interest. So, before even thinking about audience engagement, businesses must ensure the proper technical connectivity in their online meetings. It all starts by designating a separate technical support team having expertise in managing virtual meetings. The businesses can further do a test run or create a detailed SOP to ensure the audience can resolve any technical glitch at their end.
Just like an office has defined roles in a meeting, the same is necessary for the virtual meeting. Before starting with the interactions, you must define the technical roles, organizer, entry access, etc., within your organization. This clear definition of roles ensures that everyone knows their part in the virtual meeting and can respond when needed. The technical support team should be available immediately on call; community managers can use the live chat option. It simply works to eliminate the mismanagement that may cause the disengagement of the audience during an online meeting.
Engaging audience before the meeting starts
The time between the online connection and the start of the meeting can keep your attendees engaged or disengaged. They may have been through different experiences at their place and may require time to settle to the professional vibes of the virtual meeting. A simple roll call like students may engage the audience, or some musical interaction may make them attentive towards the meeting. It can help eliminate the isolation and lonely feeling from the virtual meetings. The dedicated time for check-in to the meeting further encourages teamwork, collaboration, creativity, etc.
It is good to make your attendees aware of your expectations from their participation in the meeting. It will provide little guidance for the internal team, stakeholders, and all other participants to prepare according to their expected behavior. Businesses can ensure that all participants are ready with the data e.g., billing software reports in case of finance, and other details needed during the discussion.
Further, the meeting agenda should be shared with participants, and other mandates like video or audio interaction can be communicated properly. Further, participants may be informed about the other necessary guidelines like a phone on silent mode, background requirements, etc.
Creating interactive presentation
No professional meeting can go on with boring presentations. The numbers and strategies may make your virtual meeting disengaged, and no surprise if your attendees may feel sleepy. It is all about converting boring presentations into interactive ones using infographics. The monopoly of PowerPoint needs to be eliminated with the colorful graphics, charts, visuals, etc. Further, it can be ensured that the online meetings must remain short, crisp, and informative. It shouldn’t be like the speaker is continuously speaking more than one hour at a stretch.
Introducing free time for the audience
Like your employees love to have chit-chat between the work, it is important to give them some free time during virtual meetings. It is ideal for introducing the free time in between the virtual meetings. The businesses can use this free time to introduce attendees to the brand value, speaker history, etc. It can help build momentum for the conversation and refresh the attendees. Companies can include sticky note tools, whiteboard apps, etc., to make this free-time useful for the attendees.
Introducing small games in online meetings can benefit your business. While different gamification techniques are easy to implement, these come with multidisciplinary benefits for businesses. Gamification increases active listening, boosts participation, and may include prizes in the end for motivating attendees.
Some of the simple gamification techniques can include the misspelled words and ask attendees to find the errors to win, collect quotes from attendees throughout the meeting, organize “who said this,” etc. The inclusion of real prizes may come as an element of surprise for the businesses and give a competitive edge to the attendees.
- Getting physical: This can be the turning point for your online meetings. Staying in one place for more than 20 minutes may put your body to rest, which takes a toll on your attentiveness. A vocal warm-up exercise is all you need to make your virtual meetings physical and interactive. These desk stretches may be included at the start of the meeting for 2-3 minutes to let the body get charged and active for the upcoming brainstorming. Businesses can further deploy a moderator to facilitate these physical interactions and ensure the right following during the exercise sessions.
- Introducing icebreakers: Icebreakers are proven to activate the right part of the brain and set the attendees for active participation & creativity. A funny icebreaker is about setting the ideal conditions for an online meeting. It eliminates the much-anticipated awkwardness, especially when the attendees are in the meeting for the first time. These icebreakers can be trivia, virtual games, or questions that your attendees may not have expected at all. These surprise icebreakers are all that you need to charge up your attendees. Further, it helps nurture organic conversations and connectedness between persons from different demographics, time zones, etc.
- Conducting fun-interactive polls: Live polls are the best methods to collect customer data or details from the team. However, the surveys and polls can be boring and hence your company may need to make them full of fun. These fun activities can earn multiple votes that are an interactive way of collecting data from the attendees. Businesses can go for a wide range of funny and beautiful poll formats. These poll formats are introduced by leading IT organizations with dedicated integrations to popular video conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, BlueJeans, Cisco Webex, etc.
- Maintaining follow-ups: Interaction doesn’t end with the end of the virtual meetings. Hence, it is equally important to maintain a dedicated follow-up with the participants. These interactions can be followed up with the required materials using emails. Email follow-ups may include event highlights, session recordings, key takeaways, etc. You can make these follow-ups light and interactive by adding funny photos from the meeting. The follow-up can be considered a way of showing appreciation to the attendees for making it on time. The attendees feel they are valued for their time and look forward to further meetings.
- Inviting feedbacks: Never underestimate the power of dedicated feedbacks after virtual meetings. These can be the real source for changing the way and direction of conducting online meetings in the future. Teams using effective solutions like billing software can give feedback in these online meetings to smooth the finance process. This feedback is crucial for engaging attendees and establishing long-term business connections. Hence, businesses need to introduce an authentic feedback system that automatically collects feedback from teams, external attendees, etc. It helps keep an eagle’s eye on every participant’s experience and value their experiences. Businesses collecting online meeting feedback can quickly improve their interaction and may not have to convince the attendees to join it.
It is no surprise to realize that the global video conferencing market is set to reach 13.8 billion USD by 2023. This popularity of online meetings is useful for businesses only if these video interactions remain interactive and highly engaging. The small yet effective steps mentioned above can help any company create a professional environment, even in a virtual case. Businesses can start easily by letting the participants know about the plan, requirements, and need for teamwork even during these meetings. It is all about getting optimized productivity from virtual meetings.
About The Author
Anchal Ahuja has been a content manager since 2012 and has more than five years of experience in SaaS content writing and B2B marketing.