How many times have you been to a work meeting that you weren’t totally plugged into? It happens to all of us — probably more times than we care to admit. That’s why if you’re hosting staff meetings, meeting engagement should be top of mind when you start planning your next gathering.
And don’t assume that remote teams can’t have engaging meetings. Data from a recent study shows that 78% of corporate companies use video calling software for remote meetings. Also, 67% of employees say they are more likely to contribute to team meetings via video conference call.1
Whether everyone is in the same room or people are connecting virtually, one of the top priorities of a leader is to keep the team engaged.
Meeting engagement is a term that describes how meeting participants interact with one another and with the information being presented. Think of it as the moving force of a productive, successful meeting.
Positive employee engagement can be seen in the participants' behaviors. They are actively listening and paying attention, speaking and working together, asking questions, taking notes, and discussing different opinions. And they are presenting new ideas. These are all attributes of a great meeting.
Then, there are behaviors that drain energy and thwart engaging meetings. Meeting leaders might have nightmares about these: people talking out of turn, interrupting, complaining, being argumentative, checking emails or texts, distracting others, having unrelated side conversations, or simply not paying attention.
Let’s look at some common reasons why a team member might have difficulty engaging during a meeting. At the same time, we'll identify ways to engage employees who aren’t as dialed in as you’d like them to be.
When employees show up to a meeting unprepared, it can quickly derail the agenda and waste a lot of time. That’s the last thing any meeting host wants, and there are some steps you can take ahead of time to lessen the likelihood of this happening.
MeetingPulse allows for an agenda and schedule to be easily shared ahead of time and accessed during the meeting. Hosts can also distribute materials to attendees before, during and after the meeting.
Think about a time you were invited to a meeting and you weren’t sure why you should be there or what was expected of you as an attendee. It can be frustrating — and even overwhelming — to feel that kind of uncertainty. As a meeting leader, it’s your responsibility to let attendees know what kind of participation you’re looking for. You can do this by:
With MeetingPulse, you can define roles and allow for participants to easily contribute their thoughts and ideas through chat features, polls, surveys, or live sentiment analysis.
When a host does little more than talk, talk, talk the entire meeting, the attendees are not likely to stay engaged. To pull people into a meeting and raise their energy, ask them questions.
With MeetingPulse’s many modules, meeting hosts can let meeting attendees engage in a number of ways. Participants will not only be able to participate in polls as mentioned above. Hosts can use tools like Q&As, dynamic surveys, brainstorm sessions, and quizzes to make communicating simple for everyone involved.
Not everyone likes to share the spotlight. Some employees aren’t as comfortable voicing their ideas in front of a group. To create a safe an inclusive space, you can:
MeetingPulse can help to preserve psychological safety by allowing participants to contribute anonymously, which increases the likelihood that they’ll share their ideas. Participants also can use our chat feature, rather than speak directly to the group or appear on video.
Saying “thank you” or “that’s a good idea” can go a long way when it comes to encouraging engagement. It also signals to participants what kind of engagement a host is looking for.
Some people won’t mind speaking up. For others, it can take a little bravery. Showing your appreciation is a good way to encourage every participant to contribute.
Also, take notes as participants are sharing ideas. It will show that you’re listening and that you value their input.
Using MeetingPulse will help you moderate and energize meeting discussions. Hosts can also create reports on the meeting, including participant activity and poll results, to be used afterward.
There are many ways to increase meeting engagement and many tools available to help. With the right service and a little work ahead of time, you can engage participants before, during and after your next meeting. The modules that MeetingPulse offers can help you to maximize participation, understanding, communication and, as we’ve outlined above, engagement.