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How to Engage Remote Meeting Participants: 6 Secrets From the Pros

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Did you know that, as of 2021, about a third of Americans work from home? Thanks to modern technology, many companies find that they can operate entirely remotely without sacrificing quality or output and saving money at the same time.

How to Engage Remote Meeting Participants: 6 Secrets From the Pros

That said, operating remotely does come with certain hurdles that must be overcome. One of those hurdles is that having a meeting via video conference is harder than having that same meeting in person. It’s more difficult to hold your audience’s attention and get your points across as a result.

Because of this, it’s important to know how to engage remote meeting participants. By hosting more engaging meetings, you’ll get a better return on your investment of time and energy.

To learn everything you need to know about how to make remote meetings more engaging, just keep reading.

1. Have a Plan and Share It Beforehand

The last thing you want to do if your goal is to keep people engaged in a remote meeting is to waste time. If you go into the meeting without a list of specific items that you’re going to cover, you risk losing your team members’ focus out of the gate because they don’t know the purpose of the meeting.

Create a bullet point list of the topics you’re going to cover well before the meeting itself. Then, share this list with your team members, inviting them to comment and share any feedback or suggestions they might have.

This will encourage them to come to the meeting with ideas and talking points of their own, keeping them invested.

2. Introduce Everyone at the Beginning

If everyone in the meeting is well acquainted with each other already, you can skip this step. However, if there are certain participants that are unfamiliar with others, be sure to introduce everyone attending.

It can also be helpful to ask your team to announce themselves before speaking (i.e. “Hi, Steve here…”). This is especially true if you’re not using an audio visual component and you can only see an image of the speaker, not a video feed of them speaking.

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3. Make Time for Small Talk

Though doubling the length of your meeting with small talk won’t win you any points with your team, it’s important to make a few minutes for casual conversation.

This is best done before the actual meeting begins so that you develop the sense of comradery necessary for effective teamwork.

No one likes to be talked at as if their thoughts and feelings don’t matter. Make your team feel appreciated by asking about their day or commenting on a piece of decor in their home office.

Something as simple as asking everyone about their highlight of the week can spark a bit of fun conversation. This will help to ease everyone into the meeting feeling happy and motivated.

4. Delegate Roles to Participants 

One of the most effective ways to create engaging team meetings for remote employees is to ensure that everyone has a role in the meeting. Rather than handling everything yourself and only asking everyone else to listen, give each person an in-meeting title, such as timekeeper, scribe, and facilitator.

If your business requires that these meetings occur often, change each person’s role each time. This is best done in a lottery or game format to make it more fun and encourage engagement.

5. Ask Everyone to Participate

Again, the goal of your meeting should be to have a productive conversation, not to talk to your team for the entirety of the conference. To avoid creating this type of environment, ask everyone in the meeting to participate. Everyone involved should feel that their contributions are both needed and appreciated.

Have a few hooks prepared beforehand to promote conversation such as asking about a favorite and least favorite part, or what they would change about the project if they could.

6. Be Engaging

This is both the most obvious and the toughest point to master. At the end of the day, if your presentation is boring, your meeting is going to be boring, no matter how connected your team feels.

There are always going to be portions of an office meeting that are somewhat uninteresting, but you can make the bulk of your meetings much more engaging with a few simple adjustments. As we discussed above, the conversation should be kept as interactive and lively as possible.

In addition, build your presentation with good visuals, including image and video content, rather than a wall of text. You should also have a few fun meeting traditions that everyone participates in at some point during the conference.

For example, you can start each meeting with cheesy music. Ask each team member to share their favorite cheesy song and make a playlist, then play a song or two before the speaking begins. You could also take short breaks for some easy desk stretches as a team.

Improve Your Company by Learning How to Engage Remote Meeting Participants

Though operating remotely comes with a wealth of benefits for business owners and employees alike, as with any operating strategy, there are also certain challenges. Developing a sense of comradery among your team and keeping everyone on task during meetings are two of the largest.

Luckily, that know you know how to engage remote meeting participants, you can tackle both of these issues head-on and improve your company as a result.

Looking for more tips and tricks for taking your remote business to the next level? Be sure to check out our blog!

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