If I told you Zoom meetings could energize instead of exhaust would you believe me?
On Tuesday, I hosted another business networking event for women and received this thoughtful email from an attendee:
“I enjoyed your networking event so much! I’ve done a number of these events with other facilitators, and your mix of guided questions and breakout groups was by far the most engaging and successful.
In fact, I went from your event directly to another one, also on Zoom. That facilitator didn’t use break-out rooms and the session was just a long string of personal updates. There was very little interaction or conversation. The difference in engagement between the folks on your call was pronounced.
I think you’ve found a model that really works. Please keep me in the loop!”
Since moving these networking events online, thanks of course to the pandemic, I’ve heard a myriad of positive comments including:
- Your Zoom meetings are the best ones I’ve attended
- I get leads and feel energized after your meetings
- Your meetings are really good, I’d pay to go them
Look, I’m not sharing this to brag. The truth is, when I first moved these events online I had never facilitated an online group before. One-to-one Zoom meetings? Yes. Facilitate a group? No.
So, I kept them small at first (4 people) to test the water and build my confidence. As my comfort level expanded, so did the group size.
You know what I learned? You can create an online experience that energizes instead of exhausts.
Engage The Zoom Room
You have something important to say – a story to tell, service to sell, idea to bring to life. And if you can’t keep people attentive and engaged, then your ideas aren’t heard and your message falls flat. Believe me, you don’t want that.
So, the next time you want to engage the Zoom room, consider the following to get you started:
- Use Breakout Rooms. If you pay for Zoom ($14.99/month) you get access to the breakout room feature (at no additional charge). This works well when you have a large group. People appreciate the smaller (3 to 4 people) breakouts to chat and have meaningful conversations. Plus, it keeps the meeting moving. People don’t have time to tune out!
- Learning. Get curious and read, take a class, do the work. In the past 6 months I’ve experimented with different games and activities, read books and blogs, attended seminars on how to use improv and ask people about their experiences with online meetings and events. Not all in person rules apply to the online world. Get curious and be willing to do the work to figure it out.
- Have fun. Business doesn’t have to be stiff and stuffy to be effective. People are human (not robots!), shed the formality, bring some fun and personality, and watch people relax and engage.
- Bonus: Hide “self view”. If looking at yourself during a Zoom meeting drives you nuts, place your cursor over your image, click the ellipses (…) and then click “Hide Self View”. Voila, you no longer have to look at yourself!
Boring, bland and basic Zoom meetings may be the default setting and they are not the only setting. You can learn to “engage the Zoom room” when you shed the formalities, share your personality and make sure everyone feels seen and heard (i.e., breakout rooms!). It’s a sure way to keep people coming back for more.
Do you believe me?
What are your favorite ways to engage the Zoom room? Leave a comment and let me know!
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Get energized at one of our online networking events. Check out the calendar here: networking and educational events.