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One of the biggest challenges with web meetings is keeping people engaged and participating.

Although virtual meetings can be a convenient, cost-saving solution to in-person meetings, they don’t come without their difficulties. How can you keep everyone interested and engaged with your presentation when they are surrounded by outside distractions. Unlike a boardroom meeting, people are able to connect from anywhere at anytime. Therefore, having to compete with the Starbuck’s barista, the kids at home or more can be a daunting task. However, I have five tips to not only help you increase participation but also reduce annoying distractions.

1. Determine the Focus

  • Why are we meeting today?
  • What are we hoping to accomplish from this meeting?
  • Who needs to actually attend the meeting?

2. Distribute an Agenda

  • Describe the topics of discussion.
  • Appoint specific people to lead discussion points if necessary.
  • Map out how much time should be spent on each topic. (This will help stop meetings from going over time).

3. Ask Open-Ended Questions

  • Don’t ask yes or no questions. This will get you very little engagement and leave you doing most of the talking.
  • Create ‘landmarks’ within your presentation or meeting, where you can conclude one section and then ask attendees questions about what you’ve covered so far.
  • Ask specific people about their thoughts on the topic.

4. Reduce the use of Mute

  • Only allow the use of the mute button if people are in a noisy and distracting place.
  • The mute button can discourage participation in a meeting. It allows people to hide the fact that they are multitasking and therefore not paying attention to your presentation.
  • It can be a time waster if people have to constantly repeat what they just said because they forgot that they were on mute.

5. Provide value

  • Don’t waste people’s time on topics that are only important to you.
  • Provide your audience with targeted insightful and useful information that they can use to improve the way they do business.
  • Gauge your attendees’ reactions to your content and, if you feel they’re slipping away, know when to stop or adapt your delivery to draw them back in.

I hope these five strategies will help you promote and create more engagement and participation in your virtual meetings. For more tips on how to host a successful web meeting, click here.


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