How to be a more active participant in online meetings
I write and talk a lot about how to connect remotely, create connections, and raise the engagement in the virtual world. For example, creating opportunities through the Zoom platform, building a workplace community, or encouraging online meetings’ engagement through digital tools.
Until now, I shared the leaders and organizers’ side. How can they create interest, connections, and engagement through adjusting the content to the online world, using online tools, and so on.
However, like most things, there are two sides here.
And mostly, I tend to find creative solutions to problems I tackle.
That’s why I’m sharing with you a few ideas for how we — as participants, employees, community members, students, or any other role we play while joining an online meeting — can extract the best out of it.
Be selective in what you plan to attend
Register for events only when you know that you have the intention to be committed.
With all my love for this platform, I have Zoom fatigue too. That’s why I’m making an effort to sort out the online events I participate in. When I join a meeting, I’m as attentive as I can be, making sure my calls and messages are on mute (which is recommended anyway).
As a speaker, it is very hard for me to talk to black squares and not receive feedback. As a participant, the least I can do is respect the speakers’ time. So what if everyone sees our house all messy? Or a dog jumping on us? Or someone watching TV in the back. It is so 2020. Nobody really cares.
We can introduce ourselves with our name only in the chat, and we can also share more details about our profession and why we joined the meeting, if it’s relevant. Don’t market yourself too much but sharing your LinkedIn profile can be a good way to create connections with new people and start a discussion with them. It can open the door for continuing the connection beyond the meeting. In small meetings, don’t be shy to open the mic and talk.
React and share during online meetings
Many platforms offer various features that we can use to easily contribute to the discourse. For example, using the Q&A and the chat to react to the speaker’s presentation and ask questions. Or reacting with emojis and sharing our thoughts. That way we can make the best out of the meeting.
If it’s a meeting where we know its organizers or its participants, you can be proactive. Suggest the organizers dedicate time for networking, mingling, and getting to know each other. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s a 20-person meeting or one with 200. There’s always a way to network.
I know that these ideas are not for everyone. There are areas where further changes are necessary, such as education.
And there’s the hybrid reality and a lot of uncertainty, which makes it much harder to pay attention and be engaged in online meetings.
We’re just beginning to adjust to the changes. Two years of COVID brought many developments and new platforms that will make online communications more interesting, useful, and that will better answer the human need for connection. But no matter which innovative tool will enter our world, we get more out of new situations when we use the basic communications techniques that we all know.