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How to Make Zoom Meetings More Engaging (an Honest Perspective!)

Keep your Zoom meeting engaging, collaborative, and inclusive with these 13 tricks you need to try!

By Mara Calvello  •   December 14, 2021  •   8 min read

What’s your first reaction when you get invited to a Zoom meeting?

Maybe a year ago, you felt excited to do things like add filters or play around with virtual backgrounds, but now, Zoom meetings can feel a little… blah.

There’s just something about a long list of virtual meetings on your calendar that makes you feel less than enthused to start the workday, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re looking for ways to make Zoom meetings more engaging, you’ve come to the right place.

13 ways to make your Zoom meetings more engaging! 

Ready to spice up your virtual meetings? Take a look at these secrets to make a Zoom meeting more engaging and see which ones you can apply to yours! While not every tip will work for every type of meeting, you’re bound to find at least one or two that your team can implement to your next call. 

1 Collaborate on an agenda in advance 

No matter if the meeting your team is holding is virtual or in-person, if it’s an all hands meeting or a one-on-one, there should always be an agenda.

And I know what you’re thinking, “We always send an agenda!” And while that’s great, there’s a difference between writing an agenda in less than five minutes and collaborating on an agenda with your team

Ask other attendees if there’s anything important they’d like to discuss with the team, and make sure it’s a part of the agenda. Doing so makes sure that there’s enough time allotted during the meeting to discuss all important action items and talking points. 

With an agenda that everyone collaborated on, you can be sure nothing falls through the cracks. 

Share your notes!

Make every meeting engaging by sharing the agenda beforehand to encourage everyone to participate with a tool like Fellow.

2 Add comments and reactions to spice up the note

As you send out the Zoom meeting invite, make sure that attendees read the meeting details and the attached agenda and consider adding comments and reactions to make it more interactive.

This can easily be done using Fellow’s Comments and Reactions feature. These details can be added to any content in a note, such as talking points, action items, or bullet points and are a great way for meetings to stay on track while allowing for asynchronous comments to be included without disrupting the discussion. Having these details makes it possible for the team to share their opinions, have an ongoing discussion, and react accordingly.

Pro tip: react with a thumbs up or a thumbs down emoji at the end of the meeting for a quick pulse on how the team thought the meeting went! 

3 Only invite whoever really needs to be there

To make Zoom meetings more engaging, don’t get trigger happy with that invitation list. Stick to inviting only the people who need to be there or marking some people as optional attendees. Just because the entire team is invited doesn’t mean the meeting will be more engaging. In fact, probably the opposite.

Having an attendee join the Zoom only to sit in the background silently will not only waste their time but could also be a distraction for those taking part in the conversation.

Keep the invite small and send out meeting notes to anyone who didn’t make the cut after the meeting has ended. Remember, there is such a thing as too many meetings.

4 Rotate the role of meeting facilitator

All successful meetings have a facilitator who’s organized, productive, and ready to get the conversation flowing. It’s up to this person to ensure the meeting is a success, but it shouldn’t be the job of the same person every time. Switch up who is assigned this role, so everyone has the chance to facilitate a meeting over Zoom. 

This way, attendees don’t get tired of hearing the same voice during every meeting, and all members of your team get a chance to lead the conversation.

5 Start with music or a short video!

A great way to kick off a Zoom meeting to get everyone’s attention is to start with music or a short video. You can switch up who decides on the meeting song each time the meeting is held to get a variety of genres and tunes!

Fellow makes it easy to embed different types of media directly into the meeting notes. You can go with a viral YouTube video to the latest music released on Spotify. No matter what you choose, doing so is a great way to kick the meeting off on the right foot and make sure it’s as engaging as possible. 

6 Make time for icebreakers or introductions

Now that all meeting attendees are warmed up and engaged after the song or video, get ready to dive right into icebreakers or introductions.

Asking the group a question is a great way to create a sense of inclusion across the entire team, drive engagement, and make a remote meeting simply more effective. Icebreakers can be questions like “what’s your favorite donut”, “what’s your stance on pineapple on pizza?”, or “what is your favorite vacation spot?” or a tried-and-true classic two truths and a lie.

If you don’t go the route of icebreakers, you can also choose simple introductions. Have all attendees let everyone know their name, team or department, and how long they’ve been with the organization. This is ideal for meetings with team members who may not know each other well or who are in different departments and have never met in person. 

7 Take note of important discussions and decisions 

Meetings are where the team decides on major processes and strategies for the organization, they’re also where discussions that can make or break long-term success happen. To make sure no detail gets missed and all action items get recorded properly, meeting notes are critical — the more detailed the better!

Thankfully, those using meeting software like Fellow can take advantage of the Zoom integration. Here, everyone can access your meeting notes inside of Zoom and turn chaotic and unproductive meetings into productive work sessions. Doing so takes your meeting from unorganized to effective. 

8 Use Zoom’s breakout room feature

Another way you can make your team’s Zoom meetings more engaging is to take advantage of all of the features it has to offer. One of those features is the breakout room, where the meeting host can arrange attendees into smaller groups. Each group can be assigned a topic to discuss or a challenge to find solutions for. 

Each breakout room is completely isolated in terms of audio and video, allowing attendees to remain more focused and have interactive discussions. This feature comes in handy when you’re meeting with people from different teams or departments and need them to discuss certain action items together without leaving the actual call.

9 Spice things up with a fun Zoom background

Another fun feature that Zoom brings to remote meetings is their virtual backgrounds. Your organization can upload branded backgrounds directly to the platform for the entire staff to enjoy, or individuals can upload ones they like.

For example, around the holiday season, invite attendees to change their background to something especially festive. Or, when winter strikes, ask your team to change their background to a beach house that looks especially tropical. 

Whatever the case may be, virtual backgrounds can be a great conversation starter. Plus, if your home office is a bit messy, no one will ever know!

10 Utilize the chat feature

Wrapping up the fun Zoom features the chat box. This feature can come in handy when an attendee wants to ask the speaker a question but doesn’t want to interrupt the presentation or if they don’t feel comfortable unmuting their mic.

Or, if an attendee asks a question in the chat for everyone to see, another attendee can answer right in the chat. Messages can also be sent to one attendee instead of everyone in the meeting. So, if your coworker forgot to mute their mic, you can send them a message directly instead of calling them out in front of the entire group.

11 Switch up the slides

If you want your meeting attendees to stay engaged in the meeting, one tip you can try is to make sure every slide is different. The same slide over and over again that only features a title and a bulleted list of discussion points gets old fast. Give your slides some flair with images, GIFs, and even a meme or two. 

12 Don’t leave the meeting without recording clear action items

Before the meeting comes to a close, make sure all action items are recorded and that any follow-up tasks are clearly assigned. There should be no confusion as to who is responsible for what, when the next meeting is, and when important deadlines are. 

This information also comes in handy when sending out the meeting recap! Essentially, you want to make sure everyone is on the same page and there’s no confusion before everyone signs off.

13 Ask attendees if this is an engaging meeting (feedback!)

But wait, one last thing! Consider sending a survey after the meeting to ask for feedback! This is a great way to know for sure if your Zoom meeting really was engaging and if the tips and tricks you implemented improved the effectiveness of the meeting. Ask what the meeting attendees enjoyed, didn’t enjoy, or what they’d like to see differently next time. 

Not just another Zoom meeting.

Keeping employees engaged isn’t easy, especially over Zoom. No matter how big or small your company is or the industry it’s within, it’s never a bad time to fix your meeting culture. Oftentimes we get stuck in a routine and we can’t see that our Zoom meetings are a little… boring. Implement some of these meeting ideas and see if you can elevate how your team comes together over Zoom.

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