Virtual communication: making it interactive
In our COVID 19 world, virtual communications have never been more important than right now. This could be informally with friends and family or, increasingly, in our business context. What is certain, when we return to ‘normal’, it will not be the ‘normal’ that we were used to. The seismic shock that we are experiencing will shape the future. It will never be the same again.
On that sobering thought, we all need to learn to use the virtual context in a way that helps, not hinders our communication.
In this series of articles, I look at some of the ‘quick wins’ – simple things that you can do to significantly improve the way you come across when communicating through the ‘little screen’.
Making it interactive
Following up on my previous instalment, where we looked at ‘the use of technology to interact’ with your audience, I want to share with you 4 more top ideas (there are many more!) that will make your meetings FAR more engaging.
The techniques will vary, depending on the purpose of your meeting, but if you make it your ‘golden rule’ to ensure that your meetings are interactive in some way, these techniques will transform the quality of your time in front of the screen.
Do a trial run.
If you are running a webinar or important meeting where some participants may be less used to technology, always run a brief trial webinar at least the day before the real thing. This will reduce the number of people who hold up the prompt start of the session because they are battling with the technology. Make sure you are ready to go at least 20 minutes before the start so you can welcome people as they join, and start getting them used to playing with the interaction tools you will be using.
Asking open questions.
This is a critical skill to master if you are going to secure high levels of engagement. HOWEVER…if you ask a question to the whole group, it is likely that you will get little response…it is easy to ‘hide’ when you are remote! To avoid silence, choose people to bring in (experts, people you know who will have an opinion, and those who you need to become more involved). Let them know a question is coming their way, signpost using their name, then ask the question…it will make a dramatic difference to the levels of engagement you get.
Variety is the spice of a good webinar.
Yep, just as with life. Interaction should weave throughout your virtual meetings…leaving the interaction only to ‘questions at the end’ is weak, traditional, and, frankly, is the problem with most virtual meetings of any importance. It is too easy to do this and is not going to stimulate the levels of engagement that you are looking for. Build in variety- use as many of these techniques as appropriate – it will transform the experience of attending one of your meetings.
Before, during and after.
Consider what the participants on your virtual meetings can be done before, during, and after the meetings to make the interaction richer. Are there are specific tasks that can be done before the meeting? This also gives you good reason to bring in more people into the discussion, more often.
In the final instalment of tips about virtual communications we will look at how you manage big meetings – meetings that would have traditionally lasted more than half a day (think team meetings, conferences, courses and so on).
If you have found this useful, please like, share, and comment.