One team member is trying to control a yawn and another is almost always absent because “there’s an emergency”. You try your best to keep the Zoom meeting as engaging as possible but the yawns and the absence don’t disappear. Relatable?
You think to yourself “How to make Zoom meetings more engaging?” and then you resign to your fate. You think this is how remote work life really is but nothing could be further from the truth. From having a clear agenda to roleplaying your favorite game and movie characters, you can do eleven amazing things on a Zoom call with your remote team. Let’s get into it!
11 Interactive Zoom Meeting Ideas
I’ve been in them and I’ve led them. The same old people, the same old discussions, the routine. How to make online meetings more engaging where your people want to attend these meetings instead of being “forced” to? Here are eleven ideas that can turn the tide for you.
1. Have a Clear Agenda
When people have no idea why they’re getting into a meeting, there’s nothing to prepare or excite them. It’s best to have an agenda sent out to all team members in advance. This will give them something to think about and help them anticipate the discussion.
Throw in 5-10 minutes of an interactive word game or just casual talk about any interesting topic and see the yawns turn into smiles!
Here are some icebreaker ideas:
- Play two truths and a lie.
- Ask questions about your team member’s favorite books or movies and discuss that for about ten minutes.
- Let someone pick a topic that interests them and everyone discusses that topic for some time.
2. Keep It Short
You have a truckload of work to discuss but do you think your team is going to be all attentive and engaged for an hour or more at a stretch? Nope. Zoom fatigue will set in and the second half of your meeting will probably go unheard.
This doesn’t change the fact that you still want to discuss it all. In this case, how to make meetings more interactive? Break your big meeting down into smaller ones spread out over a week. This will help your team imbibe the information in a bite sized format without losing interest.
3. Who is The Orator For Today?
While it’s great to give your Zoom meeting a direction with your managerial skills, it’s more exciting for your team to get a chance to facilitate the meeting too. Let everyone on your team be incharge of conducting and directing the whole meeting. If it’s a weekly meeting, each team member gets to conduct the meeting once. Include yourself in the cycle too.
This not only gives your team members a reason to look forward to the meeting but also gives you an opportunity to assess your team’s communication and collaboration skills.
4. Among Us!
Once in a while, surprise your team by turning a work meeting into a playground. They’ll expect it to be a heavy duty work meeting but when they arrive you tell them that you’re now going to play some game (try Among Us) for a whole hour.
This will be a good break from work for your team. It will also keep them excited about Zoom meetings because you never know which one of these work meetings could get converted to play meetings!
5. Start With An Inspiring or Funny Story
If you’re looking for a fun way to start a zoom meeting, this is it. When you tell a funny or inspiring story at the beginning, you set a mood for the whole meeting. Making your team feel light or motivated will have them fired up (and far from boredom) for the discussions that follow.
Humor and inspiration are two of the best routes to evoke a good mood. Moreover, if the story is your own experience or related to your industry, it could help your team learn something new too!
6. Keep It Fresh
If you have weekly meetings with your team, you’re doomed. Or are you? While these weekly meetings with the same agenda can get boring, you can fight this by changing the questions or the style of the meeting.
You can’t change the subject of the meeting if it’s a recurring meeting to know what everyone is up to for the week but you can always change how you do this. For instance, instead of asking what’s on someone’s plate for the week, ask them about one new learning they got from last week’s work.
Another way to do this is to not ask about the week but talk about your team’s quarterly goal. For example, instead of asking what they did last week, switch this up with what they intend to achieve for their professional development in the next three months. What weaknesses will they work on? Give them the power of imagination and growth. This won’t just keep the meetings fresh but will also keep your team engaged.
Still need more inspiration? Check out these 10 ideas to improve your communication strategies in a remote environment!
7. Switch To More One on One Sessions
Are team meetings always necessary? Can we not do without them? Well, to each his own but if you want an answer on “how to make virtual meetings more interactive?” then we can safely say that you can cut down on the frequency of team meetings.
This doesn’t mean you just stop interacting with your team over calls. The idea is to switch team meetings with one on one meetings with each team member instead. This not only helps you give undivided attention to everyone but also keeps them feeling more connected with and helped by you.
You can discuss their individual goals, strengths, weaknesses, roles and a lot more. You can go for a team meeting once a month, maybe (unless absolutely needed for a particular project) and choose one on one weekly sessions instead.
8. The “Appreciation” Meeting
Once a month or maybe once every two months, hold an appreciation meeting. In this meeting, team members can appreciate one another for anything they may have helped each other with. It could be a project-related help or simply motivating someone to cope with something tough.
An appreciation meeting achieves the purpose of creating a healthy collaborative environment. Also, who doesn’t like being appreciated or thanked? Besides helping your coworkers see good in others, you’re also keeping them interested in doing the right thing and of course, Zoom meetings!
9. Stay Away From Monologues
This should’ve been way up in the list but these ideas aren’t organized in any particular order so here it is! It’s quite self explanatory. Refrain from a one-sided speaking session that eats up half the meeting time. You’re not here for your lifetime achievement award speech.
To not get into this zone, it’s best to speak less and interact more. This doesn’t mean you stop yourself from talking about important points. In fact, you have to break your speaking time into smaller bits to give room for others to share their thoughts too. After a few statements, you can always ask your coworkers “What do you think about this?” in order to have an engaging conversation.
You can use Meeting Metrics by Zoom gives you stats on your talktime in comparison to the rest of your team. This will help you understand if the overall interaction is balanced.
10. Become Your Favorite Characters
Now this could be game, movie, cartoon, comic characters. You and your team have to look like one and act like them too! Zoom is a virtual “visual” medium. Take advantage of that and let everyone’s creativity and interest reach its peak.
It’s your chance to don Marilyn Monroe’s red lipstick, Heath Ledger’s joker ensemble, MJ’s curly hair and iconic glove, Powerpurf Girls’ cute attires, League of Legends’ Blitzcrank’s metallic exterior and what not. Let your team’s imagination fuel their interest in Zoom meetings!
11. Feedback Is Fantastic
Well, last but not the least (in fact, it’s probably one of the most important things at work), send out a short survey asking your team how the meeting helped them. Consider asking your employees to share their ideas on how to make Zoom meetings more engaging.
This will help you understand what you’re doing right and what needs improvement. What better than hearing the truth from the horse’s mouth? Let them express their thoughts and turn this feedback into actionable reality in the next Zoom meetings!
Evolution means so much. It means improvement in processes, projects and people. Bring about evolution in everything you do by moving ahead with something new, adapting to what works and rejecting what doesn’t.
Zoom meetings are a part of your lifestyle as a remote worker and bringing evolution to that can mean better engagement, better communication and more effective collaboration. Try these eleven ideas and see how it goes!