As more people are moving their offices to home, online meetings have become a daily routine to stay connected with coworkers. It gives the convenience of long-distance conversation, anywhere and anytime as long as a stable internet connection is present. Some people actually prefer online meetings over offline ones, because speaking and presenting through the wire can make them less nervous. Needless to say, online meetings also come with its drawbacks. Distraction, boredom, loss of interest, unintentional long silence, and technical issues are among most common challenges that can hamper a virtual conference productivity.
If you want to get the most out of your remote meetings, here are 5 tips on how to not bore your audiences and keep them engaged during the session.
Know your role
Either you are going to be a presenter or a listener, it is important to prepare and match yourself with the assigned role. If you are the presenter, then ensure you have everything in check. Study the materials you are going to deliver, take some notes on important points, and come with some slides or videos to maintain the meeting flow and keep audiences engaged. Likewise, if you are going to be the listener, then you have to sincerely listen and understand what the presenters have to say. Taking notes on important points, asking questions, and being active during an online meeting can maintain your focus.
Set up a workspace
Online meetings disrupted by super loud car horns or dog barking? Such noises may add some spice of humor if it happens in unexpectedly funny moments. But, if it happens all the time, there is no doubt it will annoy everyone in your meetings. While distractions are unavoidable, this does not mean that they cannot be maintained. Find the most quiet room in your house and turn it into your so you can cut out the noise. If you live with a partner, you can inform your housemates whenever you will be having an online meeting so they will know to not make any disturbing sounds. Less distraction equals greater attention, and more focus equals a more efficient meeting.
Read Also: How to be “PRESENT” in Virtual Meetings
Keep your camera on
Knowing that others can see you may help you from getting distracted. If people can see what you are doing, you are less inclined to do anything else during an online meeting. Another advantage of turning on your camera is that you may nod or smile throughout a discussion, letting the presenter know that you appreciate what they are saying. Since you are typically forced to silence your microphone as a listener, such little gestures are essential for keeping the discussion going and making the presenter feel less uneasy.
Involve everyone and be active
It is important to keep the meeting going in a two-way conversation. As a presenter, you need to give your audiences time to ask questions. You can also ask them to make sure that they are following your presentation. Conversely, appreciate the presenter when you are being an audience; sincerely listen to them and ask a question or two if something interests you. This will show that you are paying attention, thus making presenters feel appreciated. By keeping mutual understanding, everyone can keep their attention and awkward moments can be minimized.
Technical issues easily happen during online meetings, no matter how meticulous the plan and preparation is. In such a case, you need to remain calm and find the root problem to fix it. For example, you are assigned to present your report but your microphone does not work all of sudden. The best thing you can do is let the host know by sending him a message, stating that you are having a technical issue. Under the same scenario, if you are the host or the presenter then a participant’s mic is malfunctioning, try not to sustain silence for too long. Instead, invite everyone else to a small talk as you are waiting for the participant to fix their issue. You can also opt for moving on to the next section until the issue is solved, so there will not be much time wasted.
Staying actively engaged during online meetings is a must-have attitude during WFH arrangement because everyone is equally responsible to keep their sole focus on the screen. By understanding your role in a meeting, minimizing distractions, and being flexible, online meetings can be just as effective as offline ones.
Read Also: Elevating Your Presence on Virtual Meetings with Phil Haynes, Head of Global Talent Acquisition at Zoom Video Communications