Even before the pandemic, your workplace meetings might have had mixed results. From dwindling attendances to apathetic engagement, group pow-wows and presentations can be a source of frustration in the wrong hands – for both leaders and attendees alike.
If your meetings have suffered in the past, we’ll take a look at some top tips to make sure the next time you and the team get together, your presentations and meetings are as engaging and successful as possible. From using interactive elements and visualisation to encouraging participation, we’re sure these methods and approaches will help out whether they’re conducted in person or in a remote setting.
Set and follow a clear agenda
Before your team gets together, it’s a good idea to start things off on the right foot from the outset. Without an agenda or structure, employees won’t know what’s expected of them – a sure-fire way to create feelings of apathy and dread before the day itself.
Setting an agenda adds focus, defines the scope and can bring discussions back if the topic ends up veering off course – something which always ends up making things go over the allotted time. Sending the agenda out a few days before you’re due to meet also gives people time to prepare.
Invite the right people
There’s nothing more frustrating for an attendee than scratching their head and wondering “why am I even here?”. Even if your meeting or presentation is important, your team have given up time to be there and if things end up being irrelevant to them, that’s time they could’ve spent getting on with their duties.
When inviting people to attend, make sure everyone present has the knowledge to contribute to proceedings or is in a role that is directly affected by the changes being proposed in the discussion.
Start with some good news
Before things begin, the facilitator should go around the room and have each person share some good news, whether it’s business or personal. Doing this gets everyone talking, sets a positive tone that gets the brain ready for the main topic of the meeting, and allows the team to connect in a fun, light-hearted manner. And right now, we’re all in need of some good news, whatever that may be.
Start and finish on time
In your agenda, you’ll have stated the start and end times, and it’s essential you stick to them. This way, you’re not waiting around for the last few stragglers to arrive. When those who’ve arrived on time fully prepared to get things going are left waiting for others to show up, the atmosphere has already gone sour before things have kicked off.
Ending things on time is just as important. By knowing that things will stop at the time stated in the agenda, everyone stays focused on what matters, avoiding off-topic talk and directing the conversation in the right direction. It also avoids the problem of certain attendees losing enthusiasm when the discussion or presentation goes on longer than expected.
And when things are over, everyone returns to their work newly motivated.
Include breakout rooms and teams
Whether you’re in person or working remotely, one way of switching up the formula is by splitting the group into smaller teams to discuss the meeting’s topics in more detail. On your virtual conferencing applications, you can easily split attendees into smaller breakout rooms where they can talk in private.
This keeps everyone on their toes, stopping certain people from blending into the background of larger meetings, and even gives everyone a chance to work with people they wouldn’t usually interact with in the company. Once the time in these teams and rooms is over, everyone reconvenes and can offer a fresh perspective on the meeting’s topic.
Ask the audience questions
When giving a presentation, keeping the audience engaged at all times is key. One way of doing this is by asking them questions.
Rather than putting them on spot with direct questions, be more versatile in your framing of queries. Multiple choice is one such method, providing a way to engage with the topic in an easy-going yet reflective manner, minimising the chances of them losing interest.
Likewise, poll questions are another effective approach, allowing your audience to think about their answer instead of merely choosing an option that’s been fed to them. Interactive presentation software such as Mentimeter has poll creation capabilities, giving everyone a chance to get involved. And since answers are anonymous, it takes the pressure off contributing too.
If you’re presenting, give yourself a cue
When presenting remotely, it can be easy to get lost scanning through your notes or looking at another monitor. At this point, your audience may think you’re not paying attention, which gives them a licence to stop paying attention themselves.
And even if you’re not doing these things, you may be caught up in watching your own image rather than looking at the camera. Try placing a note above your webcam that reads something like “look here” to remind yourself to bring your attention back to the audience.
Watch your body language
In both meetings and presentations, it pays to keep an eye on your body language. If you’re communicating a message that you’re disinterested by what your body’s saying, then your audience will surely respond in kind.
Lend your gestures and posture an air of influence by radiating confidence when speaking. If you’re delivering a presentation in person, then be sure to stand straight and maintain eye contact with everyone in the room. If you’re remote, then compensate for the missing signals by asking for comments or questions after every few points.
At LifeSize Touch, we’re experts in touchscreen innovation, helping businesses around the UK leverage this exciting technology. For more information, visit the homepage today.