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We’ve all been there. You’re in a meeting with a host who has no idea what he’s doing, and the entire meeting takes a head-first dive into Boringville, the capital of The People’s Republic of Boring. But what if you’re that boring host and don’t even know it? Like in the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes, you’re not likely to hear the truth about your meetings when they go badly.
It’s a disconcerting idea. So how to do you make sure you’re not the nude emperor of meetings? There are a number of ways in which you can turn a meeting more boring than a read-along of Leon Trotsky’s autobiography into a festival of colors.
Zoom is a unique little piece of work. Our software lets you see all of your attendees, allowing you to establish a dialogue with them. This, in essence, transforms them from attendees to participants. It’s time to start treating them like participants.
Instead of holding meetings in which you present all of the ideas, allow some brainstorming to happen. Give everyone a voice and each idea is given some time for debate and analysis. When people feel they can voice their opinions, they listen more closely to what is being said so that they can have a proper response to it.
This doesn’t mean that you should throw any semblance of organization out the window. It just means that you should plan your meetings in a way that allows input from each party that joins. Making use of Zoom’s equal footing model (where each person can participate in the meeting) makes it possible for your meetings to materialize into something far more meaningful for everyone involved.
Typically, when you have material to present, you plan it ahead of time to ensure that you get all of your points across when the actual meeting happens. The way that the material is presented matters, but the way it flows is more important when you want to avoid sleepy participants.
Try making your presentation spiffy by messing a bit with the order of your outline. Instead of having everything presented in a chronological manner, try scattering the interesting bits evenly across the entire presentation. This gives it a rhythm that people can follow. Of course, don’t forget to keep it cohesive.
It’s also helpful to present your material to yourself out loud. Does it sound like something that will get someone excited, or does it start to sound like The Epic of Gilgamesh read in its original language after five minutes?
Virtually every meeting is going to have a little bit of fluff. What defines the difference between fluff and meaningful content depends entirely on what kind of audience it’s presented to. You can’t completely avoid presenting fluff in a meeting. You can, however, get a rough idea on the minimum competence level of your participant pool to minimize said fluff.
To make our point simpler, let’s construct a scenario: Jim, Joyce, and Isabella are attending a meeting on a new chipset for a smartphone. Bradley, the presenter, prepares a meeting with an outline. According to his outline, Bradley decides to present how chipsets work in general, how the phone’s particular chipset works, and the specifications on the system. He was already imagining how all the participants will leap in joy at the new design.
The meeting started, and all three participants were completely zoned out in the middle of his first item. What do you think went wrong?
Bradley knew that Jim, Joyce, and Isabella had a good understanding of chipsets and how they worked. He didn’t need to brief them on this subject, yet he chose to include this on his agenda. That’s a good way to get participants to doze off. Instead, try matching your presentation with their skill sets. If it’s helpful, include some information on the basic concept of how a process works on a handout they can refer to if they need a refresher.
Pretty colors always stand out. Remember this when you’re holding a meeting. Whether you’re presenting something or having a dialogue, always keep the meetings as visual as possible. Zoom has the ability to screen share in HD and annotate in all kinds of shapes and colors. Do something with it!
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should start setting off explosions during your Zoom meetings. Such things should remain in the domain of movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Sylvester Stallone.
What we’re asking you to do is to change up the visual environment once in awhile. Share your screen, do a little “show and tell,” and watch how your meeting ignites.
Remember that Zoom is a collaboration tool. As with any tool, it is up to you to wield it correctly. Invite your remote participants to share their screens, or remotely control yours to direct your attention. Ask your local participants to join from their mobile devices to share a document or website. Keep everyone actively engaged and their minds won’t stray.
By following these tidbits and leveraging the power of our software, you’ll journey away from The People’s Republic of Boring to Collaboration Nation! Not using Zoom? Today’s your chance to experience the power of true cloud video collaboration by signing up for a free account!