Video engagement platforms make it easy to break the ice in online meetings. This article shows you how.
Online meetings are now, more than ever, an essential part of our professional lives. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, remote events were becoming commonplace. Video engagement platforms bridged the gap between a company's team members and their investors, business partners, and, most critically, their clients.
There was no time difference or location distance too great to overcome that you couldn't connect with your business interests virtually.
Of course, after the pandemic, we place an even more significant premium on the ability to conduct business remotely.
Online events, however, often possess one drawback to their in-person counterparts: the challenge of making them engaging.
While it may prove tricky to duplicate the energy and excitement of "being there," it's not nearly as challenging as you might think.
Most often, it's about changing how you approach your online meetings and taking the time to break the virtual ice. Coupled with the right tools, specifically, the right video engagement platform, you can produce online meetings and remote events just as engaging as the real thing.
Whether meeting with your team virtually or in the same conference room, there's always the need to make your time together more engaging.
Meetings, where the engagement level is high, are often more productive. Communication is better. Team members are more willing to share their thoughts and ideas, or ask questions or join a discussion.
For many team leaders, this is where the virtual environment often falls short. Virtual meeting spaces are less personal and can make collaboration more challenging than face-to-face interactions do.
That might have been in the past, and in rare instances, that could still be true today. Ultimately though, your meetings are what you make them. With the right approach and the best tools available to support that positive mindset, virtual meetings can be equally as productive as those in-person.
You might even find them more effective, with fewer distractions and more collaboration.
Let's first touch on the importance of icebreakers for meetings.
While these are beneficial for practically any formal or professional setting, they are especially effective at overcoming the disconnection some might feel from virtual environments.
Ice breakers come in many forms, usually as a specific activity or game that aims to get everyone involved in your meeting. You can use them to promote communication or collaboration, introduce new hires, conduct team building, or simply to make the meeting fun and interesting for your audience.
In a virtual environment, ice breakers play a more vital role in helping people feel more connected to their fellow team members. Consider that during the pandemic, many employees were quarantining within their homes. They suddenly had little contact with folks they had grown accustomed to seeing every day of the workweek.
When that disappears, it's isolating.
Often a staple of the traditional office setting, virtual icebreakers help maintain team spirit and camaraderie. And, with virtual meetings now more commonplace than ever, even after the pandemic, icebreakers are an integral part of bringing teams closer together.
One of the best ways to break the virtual ice is with the right video engagement platform.
Many who conduct virtual meetings sometimes forget that they are in possession of the best ice breaker of all.
Video engagement platforms offer a wealth of features to bust through the virtual ice.
What makes video engagement such a fantastic tool is that it can serve practically any occasion or need.
Whereas creating games and team bonding moments are great in some circumstances, they may not always fit the mood when discussing a serious topic. Or if the virtual team is collaborating and working toward a fast-approaching deadline.
The video platform, however, is a perfect fit regardless of the agenda. Such features include: chat, question tabs, media sharing capabilities, visual cues, and the ability to gather feedback or conduct polls.
Let's explore how each feature will add a new dynamic to your next online meeting.
Video engagement platforms go well beyond their visual capabilities. Whatever your goal or event, meeting or otherwise, there's a ton of features that allow you to foster deep engagement with and among your team. You do so while also providing them with an outstanding user experience.
Here are five essential features a video engagement platform provides that allow you to host virtual meetings and events with an engaging experience that rivals, and even surpasses, being in the room together.
Arguably, one of the most important aspects of team meetings is gathering real-time feedback from your audience. Previously, that was one capability that in-person meetings had over the virtual space.
That, however, is no longer the case.
Video engagement platforms are more effective at gathering feedback and doing so in a streamlined and less disruptive manner.
Throughout your meetings, you can launch responsive polls to gain insight into what your audience thinks or how they might be reacting to the material.
You can turn around this information and make it part of your meeting presentation or discussion in real-time or use it to inform policy later on.
You may not be in the same room as everyone else during a virtual meeting, but you still share the same space. One element that helps promote interaction between colleagues is the chat tab.
A chat tab allows cross-talk and discussion among meeting attendees without the disruptive chatter commonplace with face-to-face group events - particularly those with a large number of attendees.
Chat tabs are also the perfect place to incorporate preplanned ice breakers or breakout sessions without bogging down your core presentation.
Similar to the chat tab, utilize the question tab to boost your meeting's feedback loop even further by gathering audience questions in real-time.
This feature is particularly beneficial as it allows inquiries without stopping down the meeting every few minutes. At the end of the session, you can collect questions as part of a Q&A to cap the discussion.
It's an outstanding way for your team to remain engaged in the conversation without derailing you or the attendees in the course of the meeting. Even better if you end your virtual meeting in a powerful and informative engagement session.
By now, you've figured out that virtual meetings are just as interactive as those where everyone sits around the same conference table sharing ideas.
Take that a step further, and consider the ways in which you can also share media in your virtual setting, just as you would face to face.
Your video engagement platform might prove even more dynamic.
You can share your screen, upload different forms of media or incorporate slides into your meetings and presentations. The sharing capabilities make for a richer experience for your audience. Information is suddenly more tangible and valuable when you follow the adage to show and not just tell.
Of course, much like you can with the questions, chat, and feedback, you can utilize your media sharing in a number of ways, including the incorporation of preplanned ice breakers or team exercises.
Video is a highly visual medium.
Okay, that might be stating the obvious, but think about it. We often miss opportunities to add more engagement to our virtual meetings because we're happy enough with our current setup.
It comes down to "what more is there to see?"
It turns out there's plenty.
Infusing your online meetings and virtual events with in-platform visual cues promotes a broader level of engagement from your attendees. They serve to keep your audience's attention for longer. Visual cues also make them feel a more integral part of the process.
At Livestorm, we've recently added a new emoji reaction feature that allows your audience or team members to "react" with emojis during a live event.
Similar to Instagram Live's floating heart function, attendees can express their pleasure or approval (or confusion and uncertainty) at various points during your virtual meeting. It's a small but powerful visual cue to keep your audience tuned in as you receive real-time feedback during your event.
The misconception about in-person meetings is that being there, in the same physical room as everyone else, is good enough. That simply by showing up, you are engaged in the discussion.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
To engage means to chat and discuss. To ask questions or provide your thoughts and expertise on a particular subject. To let them know how you feel about what might be on your mind.
Most importantly, it means being there, and being involved, and collaborating with your team. Virtual meeting spaces afford you and your audience the opportunity to be there and connect in a way not always possible in real-world settings.
Virtual online meetings are now more vital than ever. With the right video engagement platform, you position your sessions to be even more dynamic and productive than in-person get-togethers.
In other words, you're not just breaking the ice but melting it completely away. Virtually speaking, of course.
Molly Hocutt has been a Content Manager at Livestom since 2019. She has more than five years of experience in SaaS content writing and B2B marketing.
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