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How to Increase Engagement in Virtual Meetings And Workshops

by Gustavo Razzetti Edited by Lea Bishop

To those of us used to physical, face-to-face meetings with people, virtual meetings are a whole new ballgame. During this Covid crisis, folks are working from home and are easily distracted by conditions not amenable to total concentration to online tasks.

But, to accomplish your goals and continue to run your business or organization successfully, you will need to structure your virtual meetings according to the same rules that apply to regular meetings. You will have to set objectives and design attendee engagement.

In this article, the author suggests the following 12 facilitation steps you can use to run effective and professional virtual meetings.

1. Mind Your Virtual Etiquette

· Let attendees know ahead of time that you intend to start and end on time and then be sure to do that.

· Be professional – do your homework, dress accordingly, focus on the meeting.

· Attend to virtual-related details such as turning your camera on and utilizing audio appropriately.

2. Begin with a Quick Check-In If the schedule allows, start the meeting with a short question to acknowledge all attendees and encourage future participation.

3. Turn Participants into Active Contributors Involve attendees so that they feel that they can, and want to, contribute.

4. Promote a Safe Virtual Environment Create a meeting where no one feels intimidated to share their thoughts. Do not let a few people monopolize the conversation.

5. Preparation is Everything

Obviously you yourself should be well prepared for the meeting. But you might want to check with attendees beforehand to get their input and ideas.

6. Manage Time like a Tyrant

Allocate enough time for each part of the meeting. Don’t let attendees derail from the topic and don’t let anyone monopolize the conversation. If this is a networking event, make it clear that each person should limit their speaking to a pre-announced amount of time.

7. Give People a Break to Re-Energize

8. Ensure Equal Participation in Virtual Meetings

Design the meeting so everyone gets their fair share to contribute. Let quiet people go first. Make sure that no one else takes control of the group.

9. Ice-Breakers

These should be used at various points to re-energize and engage attendees.

10. Break Out into Small Groups

To encourage participation and different views, divide attendees into smaller groups where appropriate. This will encourage more effective networking and connection.

11. Utilize an Expert Facilitator

For certain cases, especially those dealing with sensitive issues, an expert can facilitate the meeting and encourage active, non-confrontational interaction.

12. Gamify Participation

Collaborative games, such as passing a virtual ball to whoever wants to speak next, can make virtual meetings more engaging and encourage attendees to participate.

To learn more about how you can keep your virtual meetings productive please go to this link:

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