As long as people are investing their time in your virtual meeting, make sure to minimize boredom and get better results! Here’s how:

Participants who think this virtual meeting is unnecessary and that there’s an easier way to accomplish the task typically are less engaged in the meeting. Before the meeting, ask each participant, “Can you think of an easier way to do this?” You will get one of two things: either a good alternative to the virtual meeting, or the participant’s buy-in that the virtual meeting is in fact the easiest way to accomplish this task.

Find ways to accomplish some of the meeting objectives in other ways, for example, one-to-one phone calls or through pre-work reading. Avoid presentations; information can be sent to people ahead of the meeting. Instead, use meetings for the exchange of ideas.

Having clear tasks keeps people engaged. Send meeting participants a short, focused meeting agenda with clear objectives. It’s important to send this information in advance of any meeting, but it’s critical for virtual meetings.

Meeting objectives should begin with an action verb such as “create”, “decide”, “assign”, so you have a clear deliverable(s) for the meeting. There are always exceptions, but rarely will you want a meeting objective such as “Talk about the Accounting problem”. Why? Because if you have a meeting simply to talk about things, you’ll end up having another meeting!

Remember to put topics that need in-depth conversation or decision-making at the beginning of the meeting while interest and energy is highest.

With an undefined, unlimited amount of time, people not only are more likely to talk more and go off-track, but are also more likely to tune out. Therefore it’s crucial to include a time line on your agenda:

If participants know there are just five minutes more in this discussion, it’s more likely they’ll stay focused. If it seems the discussion will go on indefinitely, they are inclined to turn their attention to other things.

Want your team to be masters of virtual and in-person meeting skills?
For more information on a MEETINGS OVER EASY! How to Have Better, Shorter, More Productive Meetings workshop, click here.

### (Return to Archives)