Virtual Teams

How to influence and engage in virtual meetings

Last week we explored practical tips for setting up a virtual meeting for success. Here we share our top tips for influencing and inspiring action during the meeting itself – so there’ll be no participants sneaking off to check emails or make a cup of coffee – and you’ll have a committed group by the end.

You may well need more than one meeting to accomplish all of the steps.

1. Set the scene – Be clear about the problem you want them to take action on.  Consider running a poll to check current understanding of the problem, which issues they are most concerned about. Or ask them to annotate on slide to indicate their areas / level of concern. Acknowledge all input, ask some for further clarification verbally.

Use these activities to figure out their “currencies” – what’s of most value / most concern to them. Don’t pay them in “Euros” if their currency is “Dollars.”

2. Share a compelling picture of the future, and how that benefits all. Use striking visuals (images, charts, quotes) to get the message across. This future vision (the WHAT) may not be up for debate so be strong in conveying your key message. Be confident with your webcam and make a conscious effort to look into the camera at critical points.

3. Brainstorm potential solutions. While the WHAT may not be up for debate, there’s often more flexibility in the HOW. This is your big chance to develop commitment through involvement.

Consider brainstorming in virtual breakout rooms if you have 6 or more participants – if time and your meeting platform allows. People always feel more engaged in smaller groups.

If you’re staying in plenary, use chat or virtual whiteboards to create plenty of ideas early on.  Evolve it into a discussion and capture key options on the screen.

4. Share potential solutions.  Facilitate a discussion to weigh up the options.  Collect their input (pros and cons) by taking each solution at a time and asking for input verbally, via chat or adding comments on the screen (e.g. under two headers: what they like, what they are concerned about).

5. Arrive at decisions. Solicit their feedback or level of support by asking for individual comments or collect their opinions via a poll or on-screen annotations (e.g. marking favourite options with a ✓).

6. Summarise. Talk through key conclusions, decisions made and next steps. Be clear about your intentions going forwards and create a clear “call to action” – what you expect them to do next.

The result will be a much more engaging experience during the meeting, and stakeholders fired up to take action afterwards.

For more detail on running great virtual meetings – click here


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