It’s hard to get people to pay attention in meetings when everyone’s in the same room — let alone if they’re all calling in from home.
How can you get people to actually participate in a virtual meeting?
The key is to create structured opportunities for attendees to engage.
- When opening the virtual room, give participants the opportunity to check-in. If there are too many people involvement, you could open the chat and allow people to answer a simple question to introduce themselves.
- Once that is done, the facilitator should take the lead. During the meeting the role of facilitator could be alternated between different people, however, one central lead will help.
- Do something in the first 60 seconds to help participants experience the problem you want them to solve. For example, you might share statistics or anecdotes that capture the essence of the topic.
- Then assign people to groups of two or three and give them a very limited time frame to take on a highly structured and brief task. Be sure to give them a medium with which to communicate. If you’re on a virtual meeting platform that allows for breakout groups, use them.
- Then ask the teams to report back.
Never go longer than five to 10 minutes without giving the group another topic to discuss/ Problem to solve (or stay within separate breakout groups).
The key is to set and sustain an expectation of meaningful involvement.
Otherwise, your participants will retreat into an observer role, and you’ll have to work extra hard to bring them back.
This tip is adapted from “How to Get People to Actually Participate in Virtual Meetings,” by Justin Hale and Joseph Grenny