How do you make meaningful communication happen in virtual meetings? How can book launches and book fairs bring people together without the real-world behaviour which makes human interaction easy to navigate?
Like many of you, over the past couple of weeks we have started seeing people less and communicating increasingly online. Business needs to continue as usual, but our habits are shifting and we need to adapt quickly.
Here are some tips from us, but we are all in this together – so please share your advice in the comments too (and thank you to everyone who shared advice for working from home on Twitter with us already).
- If you are preparing an online presentation always prepare fewer slides than you think you need. Even the most engaged colleagues and clients will switch off if you present them with too much data. Your data slides should be mixed up with stories and anecdotes to keep everyone interested.
- Use virtual meeting software with breakout groups so that people can get involved and have a sense of responsibility to participate (rather than switching off and looking at news sites).
- Keep team members engaged by asking questions and using online polls. We use Zoom Webinar and set up polls to check in regularly throughout. Please let us know if you use anything else that you would recommend.
- Encourage everyone to mute their microphones when they aren’t speaking.
- If you host a meeting or a webinar, ask your colleagues for feedback. If you can get some constructive criticism from those around you then you will perfect your skills over time. You can also run surveys to participants.
- If it is a team meeting, give everyone a job so that they concentrate and feel part of the session. For example, someone could write down any questions that come up during a brainstorm, someone else could take notes on key points, and another colleague might manage slide progression during the presentation.
- Learn as you go! Your first virtual group meetings won’t be the best. Keep experimenting and trying new tools and techniques, and build up a list of what works best.
BookMachine have been running virtual training sessions and meeting for a quite a while now. If this is new for you and you would like some advice, or just to run through your plan with someone, we are happy to talk. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to speak.