Virtual meetings are all the rage during this COVID-crisis. Yet many of them are one-way communications with little interaction from the team. As leaders, we often rely on one or two techniques to keep the virtual team engaged, however, there are myriad ways to keep the conversation moving. Here is a list of ways that you can engage your team during a virtual meeting:
Send the signal that this is going to be an engaging meeting:
1) As team members come in, start talking! Ask them how their day is going, what they did over the weekend. When a meeting starts out with awkward silence, it stays pretty silent!
2) Start with an icebreaker – a quick, light question or activity that engages everyone.
At any time during the meeting, you can:
3) Take a formal poll (using the polling feature in the system) to baseline key information
4) Take an informal poll using a literal raising of hands (if you can see everyone)
5) Take an informal poll by using the “raise hand” feature in the system
7) Ask a provocative question
8) Ask a polarizing question
9) Ask them to comment using one breath!
10) Ask them to comment in the chat box
11) Ask them to comment on what they see in the chat box
12) Ask them to share the themes they have heard during the discussion
13) Share a funny and engaging picture
14) Share two funny and engaging pictures that compare and contrast
15) Share a funny and engaging video
16) Share a funny and engaging cartoon
17) Call on a person to answer a question
18) Call on a person to comment on what has been said
19) Call a “Lightning Round” where each person has to quickly and concisely comment
20) Call a “Rapid Fire Round” where each person has to add to create a list
21) Call a “Check-In” to gauge how everyone is feeling/doing on the topic
22) Call on a person and ask them to “lob” the question to the next person
23) Play a game such as Bingo, Would You Rather, etc.
24) Pose a statement and ask if it is true or false (fact or fiction)
25) Pose a statement and ask if they agree/disagree
26) Clap (or do something) if someone says a designated word
27) If you have more than five people, send to a breakout room to discuss
28) Prioritize a list using a poll
29) Prioritize a list using annotations
30) Crowdsource a list using external software/app
31) Inject a bit of fun and humor to the mix
32) Share the leadership role
33) Assign each person a topic/responsibility on the agenda
34) Assign someone to be the timekeeper
35) Assign someone to be the “recorder” and keep track of all comments
36) Assign someone to be the “Yoda” – to keep the team focused and on track
At the end of the meeting:
37) Have each person share their key takeaways/impressions of the meeting
38) Have each person share their action items and due dates
39) Have each person “check out” on how they are doing/feeling about the meeting
40) Have each person share one thing they liked about the meeting
41) Have each person share one thing they would do differently next time!
This is just a partial list….what else do you do to engage your teams virtually?
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator. She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years. She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.