Increase Engagement Using Chat
One of the easiest ways to increase the level of energy and engagement in your online meetings is to use the chat function. Most online platforms have this feature — where individual participants can type in their responses and share it with the group or to another person.
As you’re leading your team meetings you can pose a question, give people time to think, and then ask everybody to respond. This helps you make sure that you hear from all of your team members, not just those who are extroverted or who are comfortable speaking up or raising their hand on camera, you’ll get your whole team’s responses.
One way to get people comfortable with the chat is to have fun icebreakers. For example, you could post a puzzle during one of the breaks and have people try to guess what is the answer. This helps them get used to typing in the chat function. Or you can do something fun like posting a picture. I have a picture of Girl Scout cookies on my screen because my daughter was selling Girl Scout cookies — I could say, “Okay, what’s your favorite flavor?” And people could debate about that using the chat feature. You could even ask a simple question like, “What’s your favorite app on your phone? Everyone likes to share their favorite apps and get ideas for other apps they can download — that’s a great conversation starter.
Once people are comfortable using the chat, you can tell the team, “Okay, I’m going to present some information,” and then take a pause (it’s okay to take a pause and have silence in your meeting) and then ask, “What are your thoughts?” Then everybody can respond using the chat. This will help make sure people are engaged and paying attention in your meeting because they know that at certain points you can ask for their responses. It provides a chance for everyone’s voices to be heard.