Great Leadership

How to make meetings engaging and interactive in 2021

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Emma Cullen2021-01-04
Expectations have changed around meeting culture. In 2020 a lot of expectations around work changed—everything from where you work to how you work got a new perspective. Meeting culture has also changed during 2020.

You might have seen plenty of memes and jokes about how awkward or exhausting online meetings are. Beyond the jokes, there is a serious message - that meetings in the format that we are used to aren’t working and that facilitators need to work to create better experiences. We have put together some thoughts, reflections and ideas to inspire you to make more engaging and interactive meetings throughout 2021.

Create purpose-driven meetings

One way to make your meetings more engaging is to make them purpose-driven and to develop the meeting agenda around the purpose. By simply having a clear purpose and agenda, and perhaps even a goal for the meeting, you can see more clearly if the meeting fulfilled its purpose which will help you to use your time more effectively. 

Encourage preparation for better discussions 

Where relevant, it can often be useful to encourage meeting attendees to prepare for the meeting beforehand, either by reading through something or preparing some written content. Through pre-meeting preparation, you can encourage attendees to come prepared to the meeting with information or interesting insights, which will make the meeting more engaging. What’s more is that you can save time and make meetings shorter as everyone will have done the preparation beforehand!

Increase engagement with inclusive meetings

If virtual meetings have taught us one thing, meetings work better when everyone can be heard (and has a good internet connection). This has forced us to make meetings more inclusive so that people can attend, wherever they are in the world. When hosting a virtual meeting, you need to make sure that everyone can access the call or virtual meeting room and be more respectful of taking turns to speak. Regardless where you have meetings in 2021, or in which format you can encourage meetings to be more engaging by being inclusive. You can make sure that your meetings are inclusive by making sure that all-important stakeholders can join either in person or remotely, for example. Or by making sure that everyone in the meeting gets the chance to say what they want to say and feel listened to. By making sure you actively include people in meetings you can make them more engaging with better outcomes. 

Experience-enhancing tools 

Whether you are holding meetings face-to-face, remotely, or hybrid, there are several tools that can help you make your meetings more engaging and interactive. Mentimeter, of course, is one of those, enabling you to poll and quiz your audience and create truly interactive presentations that your audience can participate in. There are plenty of tools on the market, and sometimes a pen and a few post-it notes can take your meeting from boring snoozefest to something more interactive. Whatever you choose, make sure the tools enhance the experience and not overcomplicate it. 

Don’t call them meetings

Meetings get a bad name, and not without good reason. A straightforward way to make your meetings more engaging and potentially interactive is by dropping the name “meeting” and managing expectations better by calling the session for what it is. For example, a “workshop” alludes to a collaborative session, whereas “training” indicates that the attendees will be expected to learn some new information. If you, as the facilitator, define the meeting better, attendees will know what to expect and bring the right mindset to the session. They will not just automatically checkout when they hear the word “meeting”. 

However you decide to host your meetings next year, just remember that by making them more engaging and interactive you will have meetings which waste less time, produce better outcomes and are a lot more fun!

Get inspired with our templates and see how you can make your meetings even more engaging and interactive in 2021.

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