Several HAR members have reached out and asked me for ideas on how to keep their teams and agents interested and engaged during online meetings.

With the coronavrius pandemic resulting in people working from home or rotating days in the office, homeschooling, practicing social distancing and wearing masks when needed, it can be a challenge to keep people’s attention for long. 

Brokerages’ weekly office meetings have changed, from in person to online almost overnight or so it seems, via Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, and GoToMeetings to name just a few of the many options out there. 

Here are a few suggestions to keep your meetings productive and have attendees return for the next one:

Set simple ground rules. As the meeting host, it is your responsibility to run the meeting and state several ground rules at the start to keep the meeting flowing and relevant. Suggestions:  do not interrupt others while they are speaking, raise your hand to ask a question or use the online chat feature, and be brief in your comments. No one wants to hear someone drone on and on in any meeting setting, in person or online. Your attendees will thank you for sticking to these rules.

Start on time and end on time – there is nothing worse than a meeting starting late to accommodate people that are always tardy or dragging on past the published end time for no apparent reason. People are busier than ever in this “new normal” and meeting organizers need to respectful of everyone’s time. Be the one to end the meeting on time and on a positive note so someone else does not have to do your job. 

Brevity is best. Keep meetings brief and to the point, cover what you need to cover and set another meeting if an offshoot topic proves to be one worthy of a second meeting.

Keep people’s interest by occasionally asking a question and having everyone answer either by a poll you place on the screen or a question you ask in the chat feature. You want people to participate and not just sit there with a blank stare on their face.

Speaking of faces, share a few ideas with your attendees beforehand and suggest they select the option when they sign on to the meeting to view their appearance before it is shared with the entire group, if that feature is available on the videoconferencing platform you have selected, and to speak into the camera and not into the screen. Suggest they have their camera positioned so it is at eye level and not down lower, that is typically not a flattering angle for most people, unless wearing a scarf or a turtleneck! Let participants know to have their room lighting located in front of and not behind them, so to avoid glare which causes their face to appear washed out.

Invite a special guest speaker to share a brief 10-15-minute presentation with your attendees on a topic that would benefit them from a business perspective. Since most presenters are not traveling and working from home right now, a lot of industry experts are available for a quick meeting with your agents. You want your meeting to stand out and be worthwhile for your attendees.

Say thank you. Be sure and thank everyone for their time and input and to provide whatever follow up you promised in the meeting, be it links to resources or a contact phone number. 

Have you managed your meetings in an interesting and productive manner? Please share in the comment section so we can all learn and improve from each other.