Greenwich, CT / While the pandemic has taught us all that it is possible to produce work and productivity away from the physical office, Anamika Madan notes one thing that likely won’t stay as a norm is the online meeting or web conference. The average person right now spends so much time staring at a computer screen for online meetings they are just about ready to throw their laptop out the window or patio door to never see another digital meeting again. Unfortunately, that’s not practical nor likely doable for a bit more into 2021, at least. So, according to Anamika Madan, that means online meetings need to be made tolerable again.
Be Clear on What the Meeting Should Accomplish
The first step in a productive meeting of any type is to be clear about the goal and what needs to be accomplished. Anamika Madan points out the age-old problem with meetings was that there were too many of them that ended up being meetings just to meet, which drove everybody nuts when they were in the office. Ensure your meeting has a clear target, and everyone knows what is expected as a result. Your agenda can spell this out clearly for all your attendees ahead of time.
Assume Tech Stuff Needs to Get Fixed
Give your meeting about five minutes for everyone to log in, advises Anamika Madan. Many are bouncing from one meeting tool to another, often with glitches. Use the five minutes instead to check in with folks, see how they’re doing, get a mood feel, and check up on them. Folks will appreciate the attention and will probably engage a lot more knowing someone cares.
Share the Meetings Tasks
Don’t run the whole show. Instead, Anamika Madan advises letting people step up to help and assigning them tasks for the meeting. The more people are invested, the more they will engage, even if virtual.
Who wants to look at another boring document in Arial or Courier font only, Anamika Madan asks? Make your displayed documents or presentations visual and graphic. Use photos, cartoons, images, smart graphics, and more. Make your written material shown on the screen interesting and intuitive in what it means. Anamika Madan points out people will pay attention right off the bat because there is something to look at versus digital name tags.
Digital Doesn’t Mean Sit Still
Include quick 1 or 2 minute breaks in your meetings and let people get up and move. In fact, tell them to do it at the halfway mark. This will help people pay attention better since it will knock them out of their lethargy and make them alert again.
Meeting audiences love to feel engaged but anonymous. So, Anamika Madan advises giving them an outlet to do so. Many tools can use a smartphone to cast votes and then display real-time results on your web meeting display via the Internet. Use them. People will engage if they feel they can vote or make notes without penalty because their name is attached to notes Anamika Madan.
Use Games and Simple Rewards to Hold Attention
According to Anamika Madan and her experience, Gamification of meeting content, especially long meetings, is a great way to keep people focused and attentive. Give rewards for people identifying key aspects, intentional mistakes, or hidden Mickeys (Disney places obscure Mickey Mouse symbols all over their parks to see if people can find them when visiting). A simple prize like a coffee house gift card or similar can be low cost and a low-cost incentive to keep people involved and watching the screen. Not to mention, your meetings will likely be the favorite one to go to after a while as a result.
We’re not going to get away from online meetings just yet, so let’s make them livable and usable for a change instead of another hour lost that folks feel they will never get back.
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