We’re hoping COVID is on the way out, but, let’s face it, virtual meetings are here to stay. It’s important to make the most of them and find ways to impact your online audiences in ways that are different, but still meaningful. Our friends from Interact Studio have eight strategies they use to keep their virtual audience engaged and enthralled – and they’re sharing them with us.
“Preparation is the sign of your intention. Preparation stands next to Presence. You show up.” – Leslie Odom Jr.
The best way to engage virtual audiences is to take advantage of the benefits of of online communication and minimize the drawbacks. Here are a few tips:
How can you tap into the team’s creativity to use video, themes, music, and light humor? If the stakes are high enough, it’s worth taking steps to delight your audience with an innovative approach.
Virtual Audience engagement. How to present yourself on a video call
HAVE A MEETING PRODUCER ON YOUR TEAM.
Instructors cannot multi-task and connect with participants at the same time. Patrick Sheehan is a talented member of our team who wears many hats. As our virtual producer, he deals with technical issues and watches out for folks who are occasionally dropped. He oversees all the interactive tools, orchestrates breakout rooms, runs video, etc., and can jump in and facilitate if the instructor loses their connection.
CREATE A SAFE SPACE.
Having the right human being on the other end of the learning makes all the difference. In some ways, the virtual classroom is not entirely different from the in-person one.
Creating a space for people to experiment is key. If your audience doesn’t feel safe to open up, they will withdraw their participation quickly.
BE SPONTANEOUS. BE GENUINE.
A warm instructor can impact the environment through encouragement and coaching—and just by being a genuine person with hobbies, friends, pets, and families. Unrehearsed, human moments can lift engagement and an element of fun in the course. If you live by a script, your audience can’t connect with the real you.
USE INTERACTIVE TOOLS TO BUILD ENGAGEMENT.
Video platforms give you access to interactive tools. Master the use of breakout rooms, whiteboards, chat, polls, models, feedback from teammates and faculty. All help with engagement.
TALK TO INDIVIDUALS.
Virtual mediums give you the benefit of seeing everyone’s name tag. You can use first names to personalize the overall conversation.
Telling stories is an ancient and powerful teaching tool, no matter what the format. We tell stories to make sense of our world, and this extends to business concepts as well. In-person or online, stories that illustrate the main idea behind a module will generate understanding. Stories are the most effective way of organizing information and making it stick.
APPLY “IN-PERSON MEETING WISDOM.”
Remember what we know works for all effective meetings: send an agenda in advance; limit the number of attendees; make certain someone helps the group stay on point; keep it short and upbeat; follow up with a reminder of action items.
SOME CLOSING THOUGHTS
Bottom line, virtual meetings, presentations, and classes are a part of the business landscape now. Find your way to thrive as a communicator in the digital world.
Ready for More?
Interact Studios has more suggestions on how to make the most of your next digital meeting. Read on right here.
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