Not all meetings are created equal. And if you thought it was hard to run a meeting when everyone was in-person and sitting around a table, it's even more difficult when some (or all!) you team is virtual.
Which leaves the question: How can group leaders make their meetings more engaging?
Interaction is key in any meeting setting, but especially so when it comes to groups. Engaging your attendees and getting them involved helps ensure the meeting will be productive and useful. From icebreakers to trivia games, there are plenty of ways to get your attendees engaged and participating! Let's take a look at different activities and tools you can use to make your group meetings more interactive.
"This could be an email" could be the motto of today's workforce. Because, let's be honest, we've all been in meetings that were a complete waste of time. Before we look at activities and tools to increase meeting interaction, it's important to know what we like to call meeting etiquette.
When you're calling a group together for a meeting, make sure you have a clear agenda. Even better, get that agenda into the hands of those attending so they know what to expect.
Also, once you have an agenda, you should have a pretty clear idea of who needs to be in that meeting. If you only need a few specific people, don't invite the whole team. Get those you need together so you can get in and out as effectively as possible.
If your meeting was set to assign tasks, end the meeting by going over specific action items for everyone there. This reiterates the people in the meeting are there for a reason.
Finally, set a schedule and stick with it. Let your group know you respect their time by keeping an eye on the time.
To learn more, check out How to Make Staff Meetings More Engaging.
One way to get people interacting is to start with an icebreaker. This can be anything from a simple question-and-answer game to something more interactive like charades. The goal is to get people talking and moving around, so choose an activity that will fit the group size and meeting expectations.
One of our favorite ice breakers to get your meeting running is the Meeting Icebreaker deck. In this quick game, your group can rate weekend activities, create a word cloud, and share images with the team.
A great way to show you care about your team is to start the meeting with a brief wellness check-in. This can be as simple as going around the room and asking everyone how they're doing or if there's anything on their mind.
If you have a larger group, you can break into smaller teams and have each team share one positive and one negative from the week. This helps to ensure everyone has a chance to speak up and be heard.
For a simple, quick way to run a wellness check, use our Wellbeing Check-In slide deck. Not only does this slide deck allow you to check the temperature of the room before starting a meeting, it gives your team a chance to share with you privately.
While we are obviously the biggest fans of our own software, Slides With Friends, there are so many amazing tools you can use to run engaging, interactive meetings. One of our favorites is Mentimeter, an interactive presentation builder you can share with your audience. Like Slides With Friends, Mentimeter allows you to add all sorts of features, like quizzes and polls.
You can use Mentimeter to get real-time feedback from your audience and make your meeting much more interactive.
Mentimeter is free for up to 2 question slides and 5 quiz slides. If you're looking for similar features without limits on features or the number of slides, check out Slides With Friends, which is free for up to 10 participants - Perfect for those smaller meetings.
We're big fans of scavenger hunts here at Slides With Friends and for obvious reason. We talk about them a lot. And scavenger hunts are a fantastic activity for interactive meetings. They're great for team building, fostering creativity, and promoting collaboration.
Plus, they're just really fun!
Our favorite virtual scavenger hunt to play before a meeting is our popular Scavenger Hunt slide deck. The slightly longer game works super well for remote teams, but can also be tweaked to be a photo sharing scavenger hunt for in-office participants.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that visuals increase user engagement up to 94%! Not only do images increase engagement, because the brain can process these images extremely fast, viewers are able to retain the information better.
So what does this mean for your meeting?
Use visuals! Anything from a basic PowerPoint presentation to a video, depending on how much time you want to invest.
Whether you're meeting with your group virtually or in-person, combine your presentation with relevant and interesting visuals to hammer home your points. These visuals provide needed context and will keep your group engaged.
A fun way to increase meeting interaction is to incorporate some friendly competition before or throughout your meeting. Team trivia is a great way to do this! You can create your own trivia questions or use one of our many, many trivia games.
Not sure where to start? We're big fans of our Mini Travel Trivia game. With multiple choice questions and image sharing, this is a great activity for larger groups and can be done remotely or in-person.
Of course, to keep this work-focused, take our trivia slide deck and customize it to be about current projects or goals. Your team will definitely get engaged with this fun way for getting updates.
Inside, we're all children who want a drink and a snack. Bring a snack, or even better a whole meal, to your next meeting! Give your team a break and a chance to socialize for 15-30 minutes before a meeting. Nothing re-energizes a group and gets them engaged like spending some time eating together.
The whole group will be more focused and ready to brainstorm when they sit back down.
Another fantastic engagement tool for meetings is Slido. The presentation software was designed for boosting interaction during meetings, whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid. With multiple poll options, quizzes, surveys, and analytics, you can use Slido to grab your group’s attention and keep it throughout the meeting.
Slido has a free option where you can use up to 3 polls. If you need more polls for your meeting, Slides With Friends offers unlimited live audience polling for up to 10 participants.
If you're looking for a way to increase meeting interaction and get everyone involved, try letting a team member lead the meeting. This is a great opportunity for someone who has shown initiative or has spearheaded a recent to share what they're doing with the group.
Not only will this give them a chance to practice their leadership skills, but it will also give everyone else in the group a chance to hear from them. Giving other voices a chance to present is a great way to get everyone interacting and involved in the meeting.
Setting a clear agenda and assigning next steps are 2 huge factors when it comes to running engaging meetings. By setting clear expectations and giving the group action items, a meeting goes from being a waste of time to being highly important for day-to-day functions.
One tool we recommend for setting clear agendas is HyperContext. The interactive meeting tool allows you to easily assign next steps and keep track of meeting progress. And as an added bonus, your team can share feedback right there in their workspace.
At the end of your meeting, open the floor for discussion. Encourage team members to share their thoughts on what was discussed and ask any questions they may have. This is a great way to get feedback from your team and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It's also an opportunity to build rapport and relationships with your team members.
However, make sure you have this time set aside in the agenda, so the team knows it's coming. Also, set a time limit on open discussion and stick with it. Nothing will irritate a group more than that one person who keeps talking or asking questions.
If you want to get everyone's opinion on something, try using polls! This is a great way to engage your team and get everyone involved in the discussion. You can use Slide With Friends Meeting Kickoff slide deck to get real-time answers to a variety of questions.
Polls are a great way to get instant feedback from your team on any topic. They're also a fun and interactive way to keep everyone engaged during the meeting.
End your meeting on a positive note by thanking everyone for their time and specific contributions. This will leave participants feeling good about the meeting and looking forward to the next one.