15 Ways to Command Attention During Virtual Meetings

I am re-purposing this excellent blog written by Diane DiResta, founder of DiResta Communications. Diane's information is spot-on, and seeing as virtual meetings are not going away any time soon, it's best that we know the correct way to proceed.

Do you struggle to keep attention during virtual meetings and presentations? You’re not alone. Lack of engagement is one of the most common complaints. Here are some tips to compete with distractions and short circuit Zoom fatigue.

  1. Pomodoro Technique- this is a time mastery program. In short, change activities every 20-25 minutes to avoid boredom.

  2. Minimize distractions. Ask attendees to shut off notifications, review expectations and mute the microphones of the group.

  3. Start with a poll. Get people interacting immediately. This creates energy.

  4. Make a commitment and ask for a commitment. Ask them to type their initials in the chat box as a form of commitment to stay focused.

  5. Recruit a producer so you can be free to facilitate the meeting and engage the group.

  6. Move in closer to the screen to create intimacy and grab attention.

  7. Vary your voice. Get louder and then slightly softer. Any change will stimulate attention.

  8. Offer a reward/prize at the end of the meeting. Tell them they have to be present to win.

  9. Get to the point. Use short simple sentences. There is little tolerance for verbosity on the screen.

  10. Intersperse cartoons. Humor captures attention and engages the audience.

  11. Tell stories. Keep them brief. A story has a natural sequence that keeps attention, lowers resistance, and draws people in.

  12. Begin with a story and withhold the punchline until the ending. People will want to stay for the entire meeting to hear the ending.

  13. Ask a participant to interview a teammate instead of giving the usual update report.

  14. Call on participants but don’t let them know when it’s their turn.

  15. Conduct round robin exercise. Each person fills in the blank. “At the end of the presentation the audience will…”

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