There is a limited amount of time in every day. We can’t recreate lost time and we can’t buy more time. Maximizing the benefit of any engagement, virtual or in-person will not only minimize frustration of participants but will also engage the participants. Engaged meeting participants do not “check out” and help to create the end product of any meeting encounter.
How do you decide the best engagement methods for virtual events? Here are guiding questions to help you deliver your desired level of engagement.
Is this a delivery of information that has already been decided and you are simply sharing the data?
– Save everyone’s time and deliver the contents via PDF document, recorded video presentation or self directed PowerPoint. There is no need to schedule participants time to all meet at the same time if you simply want to deliver information. You would be better off to schedule a future meeting to “debrief” on the document. What did the recipients “hear” when they read or viewed the document. How was it received? What stood out for you? What are we missing in this effort?
Is this a “committee or board” meeting where the participants know each other?
– Let them engage among themselves during the presentation by allowing them to use the “chat” functions built into technology. You would not have an in person meeting and then tell all of the participants to not talk to each other, so why stop them in a virtual setting?
Do you want feedback and participation during the meeting?
– To engage the participants you need to keep their attention. If you are concerned about “audio feedback”, keep the participants microphones muted and ask them to “chat” or “text” their questions. If you need to un-mute individual people you can. Today’s software allows for individual un-muting as needed.
Let your participants choose their own best methods
– Allow participants to use the best technology for their purposes. Again, most webinar services allow for a combination of phone or computer headset or speakers (voip). Allow your participants to choose which works for them. If you are muting the participants, it will not matter which option they choose. There is nothing more frustrating than to have to tie up a phone line to simply “listen” to a webinar. Listening can be done with computer speakers and leaving the phone line for “communication”.
Be intentional about each of your meetings. Plan them in advance and decide how best to maximize the investment of each of your participants time. How can you get the most engagement and participation at your meetings? What can you do to inspire the participants to tell someone what a “WOW” meeting you hosted virtually?