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Have you ever wondered how you can increase participation in your virtual meetings?

Keeping people engaged in a normal, in-person meeting is hard enough on its own. Yet trying to keep people fully engaged in a video conference meeting can feel like an impossible task. Not only are you competing with outside distractions, but people also have the ability to mute the meeting, work on other tasks, or secretly watch TV or YouTube videos. So, what can you do to not only keep people focused and engaged in your presentation but also increase overall participation?

Here are five ways to get your team invested in your online meeting:

1. Tell your team what’s in it for them

In your meeting invitation, identify clear meeting objectives and expected outcomes. Beyond that, you should identify how the meeting will enhance your team’s performance or makes their lives easier. People need to understand that meetings are there to help increase productivity and add value. If your meeting doesn’t do either of those two things, then they are just a waste of everyone’s time.

2. Don’t make cameras optional

If you don’t want participants on autopilot during your video conference meeting, make webcams a requirement. Not only will this let you keep an eye on everybody, it will also discourage people from shifting their attention away from the meeting at hand. Also, with the camera pointed at them, your team won’t be able to sneak away to work on other projects, make a snack, or play video games.

3. Make the meeting brief

Nothing is worse than a never-ending meeting. In fact, studies have shown that meetings longer than half an hour are less productive than shorter and more concise ones. Before the meeting begins you should have written and sent out an agenda that details the purpose of the meeting and discussion points. You should have also allocated a specific time limit for each item on the agenda to ensure that the meeting doesn’t go longer than expected. By respecting everyone’s time, they will most likely respect yours too and pay more attention to your presentation.

4. Discourage multitasking

One easy way to discourage multitasking is to have everybody leave their mute buttons off. Of course, if people are joining the meeting from a noisy and distracting location, you can make an exception. But, by implementing this policy, you are better able to manage your team and can encourage those who are losing focus to hang in there.

5. Ask questions

When you are in need of feedback, the easiest way to do this is by asking questions. Don’t be afraid to point those questions at specific people. It is very unlikely that people will remain quiet and unresponsive if they are put on the spot. Don’t do this to be mean though. Only call out people if you feel that they can add more value to the topic you are discussing.

Without a doubt, online meetings create unique challenges when it comes to participation. Hopefully, by implementing these tricks, you’ll be able to dramatically increase participation.

 

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