7 Tips for Engaging and Productive Online Meetings

October 6, 2020
From University of Missouri Kansas City Enactus

With so many teams moving to online meetings, teams are having to adapt their strategies around how they meet with their teams.

While its a learning process for us all, utilizing elements from the tips below can help make your online meetings more successful.

Come Prepared

  • Spend time with your executive leaders to have a well designed agenda.
  • Ensure that numerous people are speaking and that no one person is speaking uninterrupted for too long.
  • Be sure you're spending time within the meeting discussing only that which is appropriate for a meeting.
  • Take care of other business via email or your messaging platform.
  • This will help keep meetings to the point which will keep people from being burned out from online meetings.
"During the actual meeting,there are activities going on that require people to say/do something, instead of a just having long conversations or lectures." Peter Trinh, VP of Operations, University of Missouri - Kansas City

Recognize & Celebrate

  • Work with your VP of Membership and other leaders to have a list of people and accomplishments to recognize and celebrate.
  • Send someone a virtual Shout Out Award.
  • If you don't already have a formal program to recognize outstanding members, use this time to start developing and implementing such a program so it will become a part of the team culture.
  • Your program could recognize people along 2 dimensions (or more).
  • General introductions highlight leaders on the team and new members (who are they, where are they from, why did they join Enactus, and other fun facts).
  • Recognition announcements are designed to recognize members for outstanding contributions and for going out of their way to help someone.

Introduce your leaders and members like Roberts Wesleyan Enactus.
"We are creating a nomination system where Project Leaders and E-board members can nominate outstanding members to be awarded a monthly Member Excellency Award or be entered into a drawing for free Enactus merch." Emily Wallace, VP of Marketing, Rutgers University of New Brunswick

Leverage Sharing and Collaboration Tools

  • Leverage real time collaboration and communication tools like Slack or Teams.
  • Utilize Google Drive or other cloud storage options to take notes in real time and provide easy real time access to resources
  • Upload the notes from the meeting into a location that all members can easily access.

Introduce an Element of Play and Music

Use real time voting / polling tools

  • Especially with larger team sizes, real time voting and polling tools gives your team a way to hear and see everyone's voice in real time.
  • In a business focused way, these tools can help inform the team of ideas in real time (what time works best for meetings?, are you okay meeting in person?, etc).
  • In a more playful way, they can be used to learn more about each other like how SUNY Fredonia has used LinkTree.
We utilized a live polling tool to play a game called "Who would be most likely to..." One of the questions was "who would be the most likely to live in a big city" and you can see the results as they come in. We're planning to use tools like this more often to keep everyone engaged." Ariel Davis, VP of Talent, SUNY Fredonia
Kahoot game from Enactus Zoom From Your Room in April 2020.

Use real time mobile-based trivia games like Kahoot

  • Add an element of play and friendly competition, keep score and have a leader-board from week to week.
  • Get started with your first Enactus Kahoot by clicking here.
  • Create your own Kahoot games that are unique to your Enactus members and projects.
  • A trivia game like Kahoot can be used as a fun and engaging way to train new members about Enactus, your Enactus team, and your projects.

Experiment with background music to give the meeting a more upbeat feeling

  • Playing background music is a tried and true tactic for lifting the energy of in-person meetings - experiment ways to make this work for your online meetings.
  • Can the team crowd source a playlist for upcoming meetings?
  • What types of music work best?
  • Find the balance that works.

Utilize Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms allow for smaller more focused groups.
  • If your team meetings are large and its difficult to include everyone in the conversation, plan a series of breakout rooms.
  • Mix things up and give individuals the opportunity to speak in small groups.
  • Add a level of randomness so that people who usually might not speak to each other get the change to meet.
  • Give your breakout rooms a prompt to help structure and guide conversation.
  • After everyone is back from the breakout rooms, go around and share any highlights or ideas that surfaced.

Design Great Meetings Using Design Thinking

  • We're all learning how to adapt to this new normal.
  • The only way to keep moving forward is by having the willingness to try new things and possibly fail.
  • Use this opportunity to put Design Thinking into practice and see your student members as your users / customers.
  • Keep in close communication with your members to learn of their preferences and their feedback.
"If the meetings are online, [the leadership team] can evaluate what went right and wrong and how we can improve upcoming meetings. Remember to keep adjusting and iterating. Treat your operations like a mini-project and do Human Centered Design on team members." Peter Trinh, VP of Operations, University of Missouri -Kansas City

Emphasize Next Steps

  • Create a sense of momentum by highlighting what has been accomplished, what you're going to accomplish next, and what the immediate next steps and action items are.
  • Use a checklist or be explicit in your agenda to set aside time for next steps and action items.
  • Being clear about next steps and tasks will empower members with a greater ability to volunteer and step forward to take on responsibility or to join a specific project team.

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