Employee engagement during virtual meetings improves workplace culture, reduces employee turnover, increases productivity, helps build better working and customer relationships, and positively impacts your bottom line, whereas a lack of engagement can lead to isolation and loneliness, a lack of passion for the company’s vision or goals, and feelings of discontent or misalignment.
Failing to host engaging virtual meetings means failing to capitalize on your most important asset: your employees. Whether you’re an experienced meeting host looking for a leg up or a new people manager eager to kick your first meeting off on the right foot, this article has all the tips and tricks you need to host an engaging virtual meeting in 2023.
11 tips to make your virtual team meetings more engaging
- Prepare in advance
- Leverage meeting management tools
- Encourage keeping cameras on
- Implement multimedia
- Invite the right people
- Listen and talk
- Have meeting rules
- Use icebreakers
- Assign meeting roles
- Try virtual team-building activities
- Encourage having fun backgrounds
1Prepare in advance
The key to hosting an engaging virtual meeting is preparing in advance. If you don’t take the time to do your leg work before the meeting, you may find yourself hosting boring or lackluster meetings that yield little to no engagement. It’s important to note that there are several ways you can prepare for an engaging meeting in advance. You can create a comprehensive meeting agenda that accounts for group discussions, plan to leverage multimedia elements, and much more.
2Leverage meeting management tools
Not only are meeting management tools excellent resources that you can leverage to help streamline operations but they can also be used to facilitate engaging virtual team meetings. Fellow is a meeting management tool that empowers users to host engaging and productive virtual team meetings through collaborative meeting agendas, real-time note-taking, and time-saving templates. With Fellow, you and your teammates can work collaboratively to build great meeting habits in addition to leveraging the one-of-a-kind feedback feature to give and receive feedback, as well as request and track real-time feedback on meetings, recent projects, and performance.
Run efficient meetings, come to a decision, and get back to work
Level up your meeting habits to boost engagement and productivity with a collaborative meeting agenda. Try a tool like Fellow!
3Encourage keeping cameras on
It can be nearly impossible to host an engaging meeting if attendees aren’t able to connect with one another. One of the easiest ways to foster connectivity among teammates is to use video conferencing software. Meeting on a platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams with your camera on is a great way to simulate in-person interactions. Turning your cameras on during virtual meetings also helps you and your teammates stay present and attentive.
If your teammates are wary of turning their cameras on, it’s important to stress the importance of this feature. If they don’t feel comfortable turning their cameras on because of their background, make them aware of their options: They can blur their background, leverage a green screen, or simply source and upload a virtual background. In other words, an employee being uncomfortable about their background isn’t an excuse for not turning their camera on.
Gone are the days of hosting boring virtual meetings. In today’s day and age, there’s no reason to host a virtual meeting that leaves attendees yawning or nodding off. Many multimedia tools at your disposal make hosting engaging virtual meetings a breeze—like GIFs, YouTube videos, Google Slides, and so much more! With Fellow, you can embed YouTube, Vimeo, or Loom videos; Miro boards; Figma files; GIFs; a Google Sheet; or Spotify playlists directly into your Fellow meeting notes.
5Invite the right people
As the meeting host, you’re responsible for curating the guest list. When you’re choosing who to invite to your meetings, you have to be methodical. Choosing a few key stakeholders and contributors is key. If you start inviting unnecessary guests, the meeting may end up being disorganized. It’s important to only invite necessary guests. If an attendee will have nothing to contribute or doesn’t need to be updated, there’s no need to take time out of their day by adding them to the meeting. Additionally, you can always send your teammates a video recording or written update after the meeting to fill them in on what they may have missed.
6Listen and talk
The age-old saying goes, “don’t talk just to hear yourself speak.” While it’s essential to lead the meeting with conviction, it’s equally important to allow others to speak and listen accordingly. Crafting a meeting agenda is a great way to make sure you strike the perfect balance between listening and talking. It’s important to carve out spaces within your meeting agenda that are dedicated to allowing others to speak. This may be asking for their opinions or feedback regarding a certain point or hosting a roundtable discussion at the end of the meeting.
7Have meeting rules
Setting meeting ground rules is imperative because these rules set a precedent for all attendees. Nothing is worse than showing up to a meeting and not knowing what to expect or assuming all attendees know how to engage. Setting ground rules ahead of time will ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to meeting rules and regulations.
Do you prefer if everyone mutes their mic when they’re not speaking? Don’t assume that everyone is aware. Instead, add a section to your meeting agenda that encompasses this rule and circulate the agenda at least 24 hours before the meeting starts. As the host, you have complete control over the ground rules.
As a meeting host, you may find it extremely difficult to engage your audience during virtual meetings. Team icebreakers are a great way to get everyone loosened up and comfortable before it comes time to dive into the heavy stuff. Virtual team icebreakers also help employees overcome the challenges that come with remote work and encourage collaboration and creativity while reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation. Icebreakers are especially useful if you’re hosting a meeting where participants may not be familiar with one another or may not have previously had the opportunity to connect on a more personal level.
Icebreaker games include, but aren’t limited to:
- Scribble corner
- Quick questions
- Take a picture of [thing]
- Virtual watercooler
- Two truths and a lie
- What, where, when?
- Trivia icebreaker game
- Virtual scavenger hunt
- Choose your favorite [thing]
9Assign meeting roles
Every great meeting has a meeting host, a notetaker, and a timekeeper. These meeting roles are essential, and as the meeting host or facilitator, it’s your responsibility to make sure you assign these roles before the meeting starts. Not only are these crucial roles that are imperative to hosting an impactful meeting, but attendees with a meeting role may also be more inclined to engage and participate further. For example, the meeting notetaker will be tuned in and engaged to ensure they don’t miss any important information that needs to be documented. The timekeeper will be actively listening to ensure the meeting runs according to the meeting agenda, and the host will be responsible for steering the conversation. If you normally act as the meeting host, consider mixing it up by assigning a teammate to host the meeting instead.
10Try virtual team-building activities
Virtual team-building activities are a great way to foster connectivity among teammates. Leveraging virtual team-building activities can also be a great way to make regular virtual team meetings more exciting! There are many virtual team-building activities you can easily integrate directly into your regular team meetings—like two Truths and a Lie, virtual show and tell, or a friendly question and answer (Q&A) session. It’s important to note that if your teammates feel more connected, they’ll be more inclined to engage and collaborate during meetings.
11Encourage having fun backgrounds
Using a fun Zoom background is a quick and easy way to put a smile on your teammates’ faces. Work can be tough and even stressful, so leveraging a fun Zoom background during your next virtual team meeting is a great way to create a more relaxed environment where attendees feel comfortable being themselves.
Make meetings more engaging with Fellow
Fellow is your one-stop shop for engaging meetings! Fellow enables you to run productive virtual team meetings and one-on-ones by building collaborative meeting agendas, recording decisions, delivering meaningful feedback, and holding each other accountable with action items. Fellow also has 500+ time-saving meeting agenda templates and integrations to keep your virtual meetings engaging.
Plus, with Fellow’s Google Chrome extension, you can access your meeting notes right inside of Google Meet calls and your Google Calendar to supercharge team meetings and 1-on-1s without leaving the tools that you are already using.
With Fellow, you can:
- Provide feedback on meetings, projects, and performance
- Take collaborative meeting notes in real-time
- Encourage active listening and engagement
- Create and share comprehensive meeting agendas
Are you ready to boost engagement among virtual employees?
The benefits of hosting engaging virtual meetings are second to none, which is why it’s important to implement these tips, tricks, and best practices immediately. Don’t forget to check the Fellow blog for more resources that will help you engage your remote employees in 2023 and beyond!