Do you have Zoom fatigue? Are you tired of logging into meetings with turned-off attendees? Are you running out of new ideas for your virtual meetings?
If you want engaging virtual meetings, then learn the 6-step ENGAGE method. Refined over the last 35 years, this method provides a remedy for the most common virtual meeting problems. ENGAGE stands for:
- Engage and interact with every attendee
- Never lead a meeting alone
- Good looks
- Air traffic Control
- Get productive with virtual tools
- End your meeting on a high note
The ENGAGE Method
- Engage and interact with every attendee: If you want engagement, engage! If you want your next virtual meeting to be engaging, then try different ways to engage your attendees. Greet all of your attendees as they arrive. Have every attendee check in. Ask your attendees to chat. Keep track and check in with the attendees who haven’t said anything and give them the opportunity to pass if they don’t want to contribute.
- Never lead a meeting alone: If you want engagement, assign an attendee or someone you invite to a meeting a role in the meeting (after you have trained them). Roles include chat engagement, muting and unmuting, renaming, and security. Any or all of these roles can be delegated. The person must be engaged to do the job and it allows you, the host, to focus on connecting with your attendees. In a 200-attendee conference, we had a team of 36 working together to make the conference engaging.
- Good looks: If you want engagement, look good. Take a shower. Dress up. Frame your face. Clean up your background. Turn on your lights. Wear your company gear. Wear bright colors. Like Bruno Mars says, “If you want to show up, then show out.”
- Air traffic control: If two or more people talk at the same time, no one can hear. An engaging meeting is when you understand what is said. You can help by creating air traffic control. From physical to virtual hand raises or other types of talking sticks, help find a way for attendees to communicate without stepping on each other’s auditory toes. Until a videoconferencing platform perfects simultaneous audio, use air traffic control.
- Get productive with virtual tools: A virtual meeting is about getting work done. We all have to meet to get our job done. As the host, you need to value the time even more, because as soon as you log in, you start an invisible timer to each attendee’s “I’m done” factor, or when he or she ceases to be productive. Virtual meeting fatigue is real, and you’re doing everyone a favor if you can get your collaborative work done and get back to non-virtual meeting work. Arrive on time. Plan. Value each other’s time. Make decisions everyone buys into. Document your decisions and get out. Your attendees will feel valued and more engaged if you can host productive virtual meetings.
- End your meeting on a high note: You want your attendees to have more energy after your meeting. Product teams did research on product demonstration meetings. They discovered that if you end your meeting on a high note, customers are more likely to buy your product. Your meetings are exactly the same. If you can find a way to end positively, your attendees are more likely to come back and they are more likely to be engaged. Ask for feedback. Do a cheer. Play a video. Celebrate success. Say thank you. Then log off.
For more tips and concrete examples of the ENGAGE method, join me at the virtual Training 2021 Conference & Expo in February 2021. Register today at: www.trainingconference.com
John Chen is the CEO and virtual leader of Geoteaming and author of “Engaging Virtual Meetings” and “50 Digital Team Building Games” (John Wiley and Sons).