Ban the Boring Virtual Meeting

Most predictions put the use of, and the reliance on, digital meetings and work as rapidly increasing. The good news is that the skills we are madly improving in this time of physical-distancing will be useful long after the virus’ hold on us has ended. One set of skills I know we’ll be using are those needed for creating effective virtual meetings and work. Let’s jump start those skills with a few resources.

Adding Engagement

Bye, Boring Trainings! How to Make Learning & Development Interactive with Zoom offers a guide to tapping the popular video-conferencing platform’s feature set to boost interactivity. Gamification anyone? Here are a few ideas shared – check out the post for more.

  • Jeopardy – Each group selects a Jeopardy square from a shared slide deck and uses a raise hand feature to share their answers.
  • Roulette – Using video breakout rooms, randomly divide participants into subgroups for a five minute getting-to-know-you roulette. Randomly divide participants into their own breakout subgroups.
  • Hunger Games – Divide your employees into video breakout rooms. After participants (tributes) break into small groups (districts), each person presents a demonstration of the company’s product or feature. Later, each district selects the tribute to represent them in a competition for the best-recorded demo performance.


Thom Singer offers 10 tips boosting engagement plus advice in Virtual Meeting Ideas. My favorite 5 remind us of some basics and highlight Thom’s advice:

The problem with virtual meetings is too many people are simply trying to replicate the live meeting via video conference.  Or they are doing talking head webinar broadcasts … without understanding that being at home and attending an online gathering is not the same as being at an in-person meeting.

  • Encourage people to use the group chat functions. It’s true that engaging the chat creates a deeper connection to the information being discussed.
  • Have a scribe. Bonus on this one as it builds engagement and helps you better understand what resonates with learners.
  • Have a technology moderator and a chat room / question moderator. As a frequent speaker I can attest to this … speakers should not have to moderate the Q&A, chat room, or tech component if you want a  powerful presentation.
  • Shorten the length of presentations. Please!
  • Be sure you have set up polling, Q&A, and a way to let the audience communicate back to the speakers. For smaller meetings allow everyone to introduce themselves.  For larger meetings encourage this in the chat room.


It takes two to tango

So much is written for the presenter/facilitator for a virtual meeting. However, that’s not the only – or the most important – person in the meeting. If we’re going to work effectively in this digital environment, we need to train ourselves and our workers/learners to be effective PARTICIPANTS. The 2016 post How to Participate in a Webinar is targeted to the VIPs (very important people) on-line. The section “How to Behave During a Webinar” offers ultimate tips we can share beginning with the advice: “A webinar is just as important as any other educational or career event in your life. Ask yourself: what will you get after participating in a particular webinar? Only after obtaining this awareness will your participation bring feasible results.”

Their three rules of behavior are Focus, Engage, and Note.

How will you invest a little professional development? Beyond these tips and lots of other posts, check out training options like Udemy or Event Guarde’s FACILIT8me: Navigating the Virtual Environment training.