Whether we like to admit it or not, virtual meetings are the future. They can help teams (both big and small) connect and collaborate in real time.
Virtual meetings have become a necessity for all remote teams, but those companies that make their virtual meetings fun and engaging will experience higher productivity, better employee retention, and greater employee satisfaction.
According to Microsoft, work fatigue occurs faster over a video call than when doing other work in front of a computer screen.
Your concentration levels can begin to drop 30-40 minutes into a video call. This is because of the intense concentration needed to extract relevant information without all of the additional non-verbal cues and information you would receive in an in-person meeting.
The good news? There are plenty of ways to prevent video fatigue and gain the most out of your online meetings. Here are some good tips:
1. Plan ahead
Like with any meeting, good planning is essential. It’s vital you set an agenda, but don’t focus on the details, just get an idea of the big picture.
What is the purpose of the meeting? Write out what you’re hoping to achieve and rule out anything that doesn’t serve the overall purpose of the meeting.
Does your team need direction? Information? Inspiration? Unity? When you figure out what the purpose of the meeting is, you may realise that a virtual meeting isn’t even necessary.
Who are you inviting? Keep it simple. The bigger the list of attendees is, the more draining the meeting will be for everyone involved.
In order for employees to be engaged in a virtual meeting, they must be able to give input, and this isn’t possible in large groups.
Additionally, smaller meetings feel more intimate and will help team members feel closer to one another and more supportive of each other.
2. Share the Agenda in advance
It’s all well and good creating an agenda, but it’s pretty pointless if you forget to share it with the rest of your team.
Share any useful resources BEFORE a meeting to prevent wasting anyone’s valuable time.
This will also allow your team to prepare questions ahead of a meeting, and ultimately, save time.
3. Give everyone a role
One major challenge in meetings can be to keep everyone engaged.
The best way to tackle this is to give everyone a chance in the spotlight and contribute to the conversation.
When assigning roles, consider the strengths and personalities of your team and use your creativity.
Some roles you might want to have are: a leader, a record keeper, a timekeeper, a devil’s advocate to challenge ideas that are tossed out, and an activity or game leader.
4. Make things fun using virtual tools
If there’s a lot of information flying around in meetings, you should take advantage of virtual tools to keep things fun and interesting.
Try different tools and switch things up from time to time to keep everyone engaged.
Use fun visuals, colorful PowerPoint slides, whiteboarding and screen sharing to keep video fatigue at bay.
5. Gamify the meeting
Yes, you’re here for work, but it’s also vital you keep your team engaged by making meetings fun and informative.
Make your meetings memorable by playing games at the beginning, during, and the end of meetings.
Use icebreakers – such as “Would you rather?” or “Two truths and a lie” – to get team members to loosen up and get to know each other right away.
Ongoing games – such as “Word of the Day” – are also great games that run in the background for the entirety of the meeting to help keep participants on their toes.
Other creative games – such as Scattergories, Charades or Werewolf – are also great to boost engagement.