8 ways to get your employees to participate in meetings
In today’s hyper-connected, online world there’s no room for wasting time. You can access information in an instant — from anywhere, anytime, just by tapping a screen. Technology has certainly made our workdays more efficient. But it’s also made us less patient and more concerned about the value of our time.
For most people, that makes face-to-face meetings a drag; something that interrupts our busy schedules and — all too often — for little purpose.
Unfortunately, this attitude can make it even more difficult to get them to participate in meetings at all. As a result, valuable resources are wasted with inefficient get-togethers that fail to achieve your goals.
But there IS a better way…
If you’re wondering how to engage employees in team meetings and break through that boredom, here are 8 simple tips to get you started.
1. Share the spotlight
As soon as participants become actively involved in a meeting, they’re more likely to stay focused. Try asking employees to prepare a brief presentation, team update, or question in advance — just knowing they’ll be required to speak at some point is all it takes to stay focused.
2. Choose your own agenda
Try distributing an agenda in advance. This gives your employees time to prepare feedback, questions and other insights they wish to share. But following on from the previous point, it can get them to focus on the agenda that relates to them, and tune out of the rest.
A clever way to overcome this is to address the items on your agenda out of order, to keep people alert and listening in for who’s up next.
3. Instead of a monologue, try a dialogue
If you’ve ever watched an actor perform a Shakespearean work on stage, you’ll know that they often involve long passages of solo prose. Thing is, not everyone considers that to be engaging entertainment (unless of course, the subject matter is a little edgy).
Just remember that no matter how fascinating you think the subject matter being discussed is, people often find themselves fatigued when listening to a one man show. Instead of a monologue, try a dialogue instead. This not only serves to make participants more alert to what is being discussed — it makes them feel more involved in the outcome.
4. Try appealing to their interests
Do your employees disengage and play on their phone? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? This doesn’t always mean poor manners, but it does mean that they’ve lost interest in the discussion. After reprimanding them… take advantage of that interest in their phones.
Many corporate trainers are saving time and costs by connecting with employees online, using collaborative project management tools and interactive meeting software which reveal people’s preferences. With a workforce that’s becoming increasingly tech-obsessed, savvy businesses know that the way to encourage staff to participate in meetings more by simply using the channels they already love.
P.S – You can do this with Zeetings. Take a closer look by clicking here.
5. Understand that fear is not your friend
Remember that heart-stopping, stomach-lurching moment in school when the teacher singled you out in front of the class, asking for the answer to a question you didn’t even here? I know you do…
Some bosses (not you, of course!) still use this fear-based tactic as a way of ensuring their employees are paying attention — but in reality, all it does is make people feel nervous. Instead of putting employees on the spot, invite feedback and use positive reinforcement to show how much you value their contribution instead.
For example, if you notice someone hasn’t contributed yet in your meeting, ask what their thoughts are. It could be that they’re simply the shy type and feel overshadowed by more dominant voices. Alternatively, it could reveal a deeper issue that they’re hesitant or uncomfortable about raising. Either way, it’s a gentle way to start the conversation without making your employees feel trapped.
6. Find out what they really think
Not everybody is confident when it comes to speaking up in a room full of people — especially if they’re at different levels of the organiszational hierarchy. But online Q&A tools can offer a solution to those who would rather stay out of the spotlight. Using these platforms, meeting participants can say exactly what they’re thinking anonymously, through the safety of their smart device. It also gives you the opportunity to gauge people’s thoughts before and after the meeting itself takes place.
7. Try keeping things relaxed
Anything you can do to make your meeting participants feel more comfortable, and free to speak their mind should be considered. You can do this is by changing the tone of the meeting, make it less formal, hold it outside of the office or boardroom. Some businesses even opt to take employees outdoors for their meetings or hold a ‘walking meeting’ to keep participants on the ball. A new location can also invigorate new ideas and bring a fresh perspective.
8. Leave on a high
By keeping things short (less than half an hour), you’ll be more conscious of getting the most important information across in the shortest amount of time possible. Not only will his help to capture people’s attention spans for longer — it will make your meetings more time efficient.
There’re a lot of ways you can make meetings and presentations more interesting (let’s be real, a lot of the time they’re quite boring). So if you want to know more about making meetings more interesting and capturing the attention of a crowd? Check out our handbook of unforgettable ideas.