Don't Bore People and You'll Get More Done in Virtual Meetings
Make sure to minimize boredom in your virtual meetings! Here are a few tips:
MAKE SURE YOU GET A RESPONSE
A good trick for keeping attention is to have "plants" in the group--people who know they are going to be called on. You might tell someone before the meeting, "I am going to call on you to illustrate this point with a story from your experiences with such and such."
This goes along with a facilitator's responsibility to plan an agenda that is fast-paced and interesting. If possible, take out the parts that might be tedious and deal with them in another format, otherwise you can poison the entire meeting.
It's usually more effective to chunk your objectives and schedule several shorter meetings rather than trying to cram lots of different topics into a too-long meeting. If meetings go too long, people's attention and interest wander, and creativity diminishes.
KEEP PEOPLE TOGETHER
Another suggestion that keeps people more engaged is to encourage attendees to form small meeting pods. That is, have people who work in the same office join from a conference room rather than dialing in from their desks.
As facilitator, you need to be listening for a drop in energy, noticeable delays in replies, half-hearted responses, and silence when you ask questions. State what you're observing/ hearing/not hearing.
Validate your interpretations and if you determine that people have become disengaged, ask attendees how the rest of the time could be used more productively, or make a suggestion yourself of how the agenda could change, or agree to reconvene at a future time when people are fresh and you can quickly and effectively accomplish your objectives.
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