When transitioning your face-to-face meetings and events into the virtual sphere, you’ll quickly realize that you have to make some adjustments for an effective meeting. What works in a physical space may not translate well into a virtual space, but it can be hard to realize this beforehand. That’s why we’ve outlined nine tips to improve meeting engagement within Zoom!
Basic Zoom Etiquette to Improve Meeting Engagement
1. Engage with Video
While video is optional during a Zoom meeting, you can easily improve meeting engagement by being present on screen as you would in an office setting. By cultivating this expectation in yourself, you’ll be a model for others in your organization and show your participants or virtual attendees that you care.
2. Be Aware of Background Noise
Sometimes it can be easy to forget that the mic picks up just about everything. Try to set up a dedicated space for your Zoom meetings and virtual events, whether that’s in your home or in a coworking space. This will help keep the attention of your audience and help them focus.
Similarly, while rooting out sounds that may come from other rooms, another source of distraction is often the speaker or presenter themselves. Many of us can become nervous (even online) and have a habit of clicking pens, fidgeting, etc. Try to stay aware of these tendencies and do your best to curb them so others remain focused on what you’re saying, rather than doing. This will not only improve meeting engagement over Zoom but will also help your in-person presentation skills!
3. Wear Headphones
In the spirit of the point above, wearing headphones is another simple, yet effective, way to create the best Zoom experience. Microphones built into your headphones do a better job at zeroing in and picking up on just your voice while leaving out extraneous sounds than the microphone in your computer.
Be careful though, if you have active noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds that create a seal, you may find a tendency of speaking too loudly. Gently pull your earbuds out so you can also keep your voice level in mind.
4. Use Hotkeys!
Shortcuts and hotkeys are a great way to improve meeting engagement. Certain hiccups like ‘talking while muted’ can disrupt the natural flow of a conversation, so it’s a great idea to learn some of the most commonly used Zoom keyboard shortcuts.
Our personal favorite is “Push to Talk” – a.k.a. the spacebar! It’s certainly a Zoom “best practice” to stay muted while others are speaking, but the time it takes to navigate your mouse and click “unmute” for a quick reply can also disrupt the flow of a conversation. By pressing and holding the spacebar, you can quickly unmute and give your reply. Once you let off the spacebar, you’ll go right back to being muted. Talk about a game changer!
Are you planning to host an upcoming Zoom event? Check out ePly’s Zoom-integrated virtual event platform! You’ll be on your way to streamlining virtual events like an event planning boss in no time!
Now that you’re well-versed in basic Zoom etiquette, let’s dive into the five more advanced tips to improve meeting engagement!
Advanced Tips to Improve Meeting Engagement In Zoom
5. Organize a Clear Meeting Agenda
By creating a meeting agenda, you’ll be able to keep yourself on track as well as the larger group. Make sure to share the agenda ahead of time so that your attendees will know what to expect, when to ask questions, and when they may be called upon to present during your meeting.
Though it may seem like an extra step, your agenda doesn’t need to be complex in order to improve meeting engagement. A simple Google Doc with quick bullets points of the overarching structure of the meeting will create clear expectations.
If you’re crafting an agenda for an extended Zoom session, make sure to check out How to Build a Conference Agenda That Keeps Attendees Engaged.
6. Greet Attendees
This may seem like a no brainer, but something as simple as greeting attendees as they come online and asking questions is a great way to break the ice and make for a more comfortable atmosphere. Just imagine how awkward it would be to sit in silence or without the host’s video turned on!
This is by far the easiest way to improve meeting engagement and helps cultivate an inviting and fun atmosphere! Ask questions, be personable, and see if you can make someone laugh! People will remember how you made them feel after the meeting and are more likely to speak up and ask questions when they’ve been personally acknowledged.
7. Leverage Zoom Tools
Stepping up a bit, Zoom tools are the best way to take meeting engagement to the next level! Zoom has a feature called Whiteboards that allows users to collaborate, brainstorm ideas, and organize them into a virtual space. This is a surefire way to stave off boredom and improve meeting engagement because each attendee will feel like they have an active stake in the meeting.
If you’ve never used this tool or need a refresher, check out Zoom’s Sharing a Whiteboard guide. You can also learn how to use Annotation Tools within Whiteboard to take your meeting to the next level!
8. Teach Tools To Audience
If you do plan on using the tools recommended above, it’s also important that your attendees know to use them as well. Make sure that you not only learn them well enough for your own use, but that you also learn them well enough to teach on the fly in a virtual meeting.
Once your attendees are familiar with the basics, they’ll be able to connect with you and your meeting on a more tactile level. This will not only help improve meeting engagement but also make attendees feel like they have multiple ways to participate in the meeting, especially if they’re not ones to speak up often. Remember, just because a person doesn’t converse a lot doesn’t mean that they aren’t engaged – they might just be soaking up all the great info you’re giving them!
9. Work In Groups
A powerful but often under-utilized Zoom feature is the opportunity to use breakout rooms. If you’re hosting a Zoom session that could benefit from breaking into smaller groups before rejoining the main event, we highly suggest learning how to use this feature.
Before your meeting begins, you can pre-assign breakout rooms based upon a variety of criteria to make it easy for your attendees to jump into and out of the “main room.” The opportunity for breakout sessions will improve meeting engagement by getting attendees to interact with each other, work together in groups, and then present back to the rest of those in attendance.
For a quick demo and tips on how to use this technology, refer to Zoom’s Managing Breakout Rooms video.
For a truly exceptional experience with the leading event management software, check out ePly’s features to see how your business, university or organization would benefit. Whatever your needs may be, ePly has the event management software you need to execute anything from event registration and promotion to event technology to take your event experience to the next level!