Keep Employees Engaged, Virtually

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Remote meetings aren’t going away anytime soon. These virtual gatherings are the new normal. Leaders and their employees need to learn how to replicate in a virtual environment the interactions and two-way dialogue that make in-person meetings meaningful.

Whether you are speaking with one or many, planning for interaction will help you better connect with your audience, and enable you to learn what your employees are really thinking—crucial for effective communication that leads to action.

Here’s a Bingo card that only 2020 could produce.

 

Here is a compilation of the Top 10 best practices to help leaders and managers capture and hold audience attention and fuel a productive discussion during virtual meetings:

  1. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS Allow time for water cooler talk. Take an interest in your team’s personal life. For example, ask about their children, pets and hobbies. When we are connected, we work together better.

  2. DON’T SAVE QUESTIONS FOR THE END Encourage employees to pose questions throughout the session. The goal is to replicate true two-way communication and not drone on for extended periods. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think about how you would prefer to engage.

  3. BRAINSTORM BEFORE THE PRESENTATION Most spend too much time making slides, some time on messaging, and little thought is given to what questions might be asked. Reverse that process. Anticipate all the questions that might be raised, especially those that you hope won’t come up, and have answers ready. Prepare team members to take some of the queries to give them a role.
    • Solicit Feedback In Advance: Ask for questions, examples, or topics relevant to your meeting before you finalize your talking points. It will help you create your message, and you can incorporate any specific questions you receive throughout your call.

  4. USE ELECTRONIC POLLING Embed a few multiple-choice questions into your meeting. This will enable all employees to provide their points of view in real time. Be sure to set the questions up appropriately and be prepared to integrate the responses into the discussion.

  5. LEVERAGE THE RAISED HANDS OR CHAT ROOM OPTIONS Provide explicit instructions on these features at the beginning of the meeting to encourage participation. Have someone monitor incoming inquiries and bring them to your attention to help you navigate the discussion.

  6. BUILD IN TIME FOR ENGAGEMENT If you have 20 minutes on the agenda, make sure you plan for using almost half that time for questions and discussion. If you’re adhering to the golden rule of presentation giving; to explicitly share your three key messages at the beginning of your talk and at the end, it won’t matter if you get to every point. The interaction is more important.

  7.  ELIMINATE THE PHRASE “ANY QUESTIONS?” FROM YOUR VOCABULARY Ask something specific instead or “What questions do you have NOT do you have any questions?”  This small difference stimulates ideas and conversation.  Solicit comments or relevant stories and don’t limit sharing to questions. If it’s a small group, have them unmute the entire time so dialogue will be easier and it keeps folks accountable for staying focused on the conversation.

  8. KEEP THE DIALOGUE GOING Promise to answer any unanswered questions post meeting. If there isn’t time to respond to every person or if someone’s remark requires a more detailed response, that’s okay. Just ensure that you follow up individually within a day or two.

  9. KNOW YOUR STUFF There is no substitute for knowing your content. If you rehearse and are truly confident with your subject, it will be easier to pause and take comments without getting tripped up. Lastly never read from a script, that is certainly the fastest way to lose your audience and sound inauthentic.

  10. NO GREAT MEETING EVER ENDS WITH A QUESTION Don’t conclude with Q&As. The last question may not be a great one. It’s much better to end with a bang, not a whimper. Close your meeting with the two or three most important messages you want your employees to remember. And in these challenging pandemic times, perhaps leave them with an inspirational quote or thought.

People are craving live interaction as most continue to work remotely. With advance planning, striving to make a virtual presentation a dialogue will enhance your relationships and make a greater impact. And an added bonus, these techniques will also serve you well when we get back to “normal” and in-person meetings are resumed. Remember, talk less, and interact more.

If HR On-Call, LLC can help with any of your employee needs, whether face to face or virtually, please give us a call at 515-401-2233.  Be Safe – Happy Holidays!

 


Susan Arnold
HR On-Call, LLC
p. 515.401.2233
e . Susan@HROn-Call.com

A little more about us: Susan Arnold, owner and lead HR Consultant at HR On-Call, LLC. Susan has 20+ years of HR experience and provides a HR presence to business organizations without the overhead expense of a full-time employee. Susan helps business owners improve employer/employee relationships and allows them to focus on their business while resting assured that they are in full compliance with state and federal law. Areas of expertise:

  • Reduce Employer Risk and Liability
  • Customized Employee Handbooks
  • Performance Reviews
  • Improve Employee/Employer Relationships
  • Background Checks
  • Personality Assessments
  • Guaranteed EEO Compliance
  • Employee Retention
  • Recruitment / Hiring
  • Employee Discipline/Discharge

Susan is passionate about her customers and listens to their needs. If you are interested in any of the details above or would like more information about her services, please contact Susan! If you have questions on how your specific policy should read or need help navigating a certain instance, contact HR On-Call, LLC

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