Virtual meeting technology platforms abound, but creating a successful virtual meeting architecture takes more than clicking “Connect.”
To ensure a successful, educational and engaging virtual meeting, make sure you consider these two important meeting-architecture elements.
Large Group Interaction
During any meeting, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. This is especially true during a virtual one where a world of distractions are available at the click of a mouse.
Here are a few ways to keep your participants engaged, interested, and fully-invested in the meeting’s outcomes.
BADGING: Using badges during a virtual meeting (or a series of meetings) is an effective learning incentive and offers many advantages. They:
- Provide immediate visual progress feedback
- Offer a meaningful “carrot” that acknowledges accomplishments
- Enable participants to display their accomplishments to the group
- Create a common learning environment and shared goals
- Establish a clear map that lets participants know where they’ve been, where they are, and where they need to go.
GAMIFICATION: Several years ago, Game Theory found a new home in event and meeting culture; and for good reason … it works. Here are a few ways to “gamify” your next virtual meeting:
- Evolve your meeting language: Instead of using words like Objectives, Milestones, Recognition, Obstacles, or Competition, use words like Epic Quests, Missions, Challenges , or maybe even Slay Dragons (for the Unbowed, Unbent, and Unbroken)
- Make it Fun: Support this active language by adding virtual quizzes, match games, digital prize wheels, and other interactive, message-based games. This builds anticipation, and reinforces important educational material.
- Build alliances: Some of these games should be individual, but others should be team-based (regional, cross-departmental, etc.). This cross-pollinates team members who may otherwise never get a chance to meet.
- Your meeting template may also support this “gamified” atmosphere. The addition of scores, timers, hints, and other interactive elements transform a traditional meeting interface into an interactive gaming dashboard.
Interactive games energize a virtual meeting, generate excitement, reinforce learning, and build community.
THE HALLWAY EFFECT: At in-person events, much of the “real work” gets done in informal settings, e.g. receptions, coffee breaks, etc.. This has been dubbed “The Hallway Effect,.
Here are a few ways to add “The Hallway Effect” to your next virtual meeting:
- Chat Channels. These are online “Attendee Networking Lounges.” They’re free-form, with no specific topic or agenda.. Example: A private, branded Facebook page with a closed set of members. Participants build profiles with photos and personal info so others can “put a name with a face.” Attendees choose their subjects and chat at their leisure.
- Discussion Forums: Similar to Chat Channels, these forums are topic-based and curated to keep discussions on track and to provide useful information links. Participants could also create profiles with photos, etc. to build community.
- One-on-one or small-group private meetings. These meetings are focused and granular. Attendees book times within the boundaries of the virtual event to meet on-camera in the same way they book meeting tables or nooks in networking lounges at in-person events.
Creating a “virtual hallway effect,” allows attendees to interact in smaller, more focused groups. This creates a safe space where introverted participants can comfortably share. It also, in general, drives increased investment in the meeting’s overall goals.
Adult Learning Dynamics
Teaching adults is unique. Here are strategies for educating adult learners.
- Keep It Relevant: Adults latch onto information they feel addresses their immediate needs.
- Integrate Emotion: Adults identify best with emotionally-driven content. Real-life story-telling and visuals keep adult learners engaged.
- Encourage exploration: Adult learners prefer to come to their own conclusions. Create projects that inspire collaboration and exploration. When adults reach new understandings on their own, the information becomes stickier.
- Make it Convenient: Adults are busy, so assignments should be easy to complete, e.g. via mobile devices, tablets, etc.. The easier assignments are to complete, the more likely they will be completed.
- Always Offer Feedback: Waiting too long to give adult learners feedback is a missed opportunity. Strike while the iron is hot or they’ll move down their To-Do list.
Constructing a virtual meeting is a complex undertaking, and entails much more than getting a bunch of people to log into ZOOM.
Consulting a Virtual Meeting Professional can ensure that you:
- Optimize your meeting interactive & engagement strategy
- Maximize results
- Respect your participant’s time
- Supercharge participant learning, and most important …
- … make them look forward to the next one.