Most meetings are very similar in structure. You get everyone in the room, there’s a couple minutes of “hey, how’s it going?” “I’m fine, how are you?”, and then someone kicks it off with an agenda and goes through a PowerPoint.
This was how things went down in person and that’s how most are doing it now virtually as well. But things have changed and meetings need to change in order to keep everyone engaged and focused.
Probably because not only are we staring at a screen to do our work, but we’re also staring at a screen for the meeting as well so it’s just...screens all the time! And I’m sure you’ve heard of the term, Zoom fatigue (which leads to a whole other topic to talk about!).
The biggest thing you should take note of as a meeting host is engagement from everyone.
And although here are some general tips and tricks you can takeaway, you know your teammates best, so be creative and try new stuff! Some will work and some won’t but virtual meetings could lead to some interesting new things!
Make sure there is a real purpose and goal for having the meeting and that everyone in the meeting has to be there. Nowadays with all the technology that we have - things could be easily be said through Slack or in an email.
Also, making sure whatever the purpose is for the meeting gets achieved by the end will lead to a boost in morale and greater engagement for when you’re having the next meeting!
Setting out a clear agenda for the meeting will set the right expectations from everyone. There’s the famous saying - “no agenda, no meeting” for having productive meetings and this is very true for virtual meetings as well. When everyone’s on the same page for what needs to be done, everyone knows how they can contribute which will lead to higher engagement from team members.
This is KEY!! And one of the hardest things to do virtually. But having the right tools and calling out specific individuals during the meeting will make it a lot more collaborative. Otherwise - sitting in front of a screen and listening to one person talk the whole time is not fun.
Collaboration online means having the right tools! There are a ton of tools out there already to help with this. Google docs and google slides are all collaborative in real-time so editing things together is easy. Personally, I love using Figma and Miro for brainstorming exercises because it allows all parties to build something together through coloured sticky notes, drawings, and text. In Rally, you can easily use the customizable button to link to the document you’re all working on for easy access.
In addition to using collaborative tools, as a meeting host you have the power to drive discussion and engagement by making sure everyone has a chance to speak in the meeting. In person it’s easy to know when someone is turning and looking at you. But through video, you’ll need to go one step further and say their name which will help to make sure no one’s talking over each other.
A very cool thing you can do on Rally for brainstorming and ideation meetings is have everyone breakout into smaller groups directly in the room into separate tables for discussion. Users can even lock their table for a quiet brainstorming session so no one interrupts them. Bringing everyone back together in a table is just as easy - just go on stage and round them all up!
If there was a goal that needed to be achieved by the end of the meeting, make sure it’s accomplished and everyone’s on the same page on the final decision. A good habit is to email key takeaways to everyone involved.
Everyone loves checking off their to-do list and this is no different. Finishing a meeting with the purpose fulfilled will keep morale and productivity high.
A fun tip you can incorporate into your meeting can be to end with a fun icebreaker question! At all our Rally meetings, we always ask a fun question at the end that brings the team closer together such as, “What was your favourite memory as a child?” or “If each team member had to go to jail for something, what would it be?” Always end on a high note!
How do you engage with your teammates?