6 Tips to Keep Your IT Meeting from Becoming a Snoozefest

Whether you’re talking to your co-workers in person or over the internet, one thing is clear: if somebody doesn’t know how to lead the meeting, then everybody will lose interest fairly quickly. If you’ve been assigned to take care of the conference, then you’re inevitably going to have to keep everybody awake enough to engage in the discussion. Tired of having people fall asleep on you while you’re still conducting a meeting? Fear not. In this article, we’ll give you some clever ways that you can keep people interested in what you and the other participants have to say.

1. Start the Meeting Off with a Bang
While you don’t have to break into a song and dance number just to get everybody’s attention, there are some things you can do to grab their attention from the very beginning. A classic way of starting off any meeting is to pose a thought-provoking question or a funny joke. You could start off by playing an interesting video clip that’s related to what you have to discuss with everybody else. You could also share a personal anecdote that has something to do with your agenda. Just because it’s your way of getting the meeting started, though, doesn’t mean that it should drag on for a long time. Hook people into the discussion, and then transition smoothly into tackling each and every item on your list.

2. Remind Everybody of the Agenda
After you’ve gotten your participants’ attention, give everybody a quick rundown of what you’ve got to accomplish that day. Though you’ve probably already sent these to them via e-mail a few days in advance, it won’t hurt to remind everybody what the meeting is for. It could even get the gears started in some of your participants’ minds, especially if they have a tendency to forget a few details. If you can tell everybody what you’re planning to tackle, and how long you expect to tackle each item, they’ll be more likely to actively join the conversation rather than just sit there and let the conference go on for hours on end. Don’t forget to remind everybody about the big picture every once in a while, too, according to Entrepreneur.

3. Make a Visual Representation of the Participants’ Thoughts
You could write a diagram of everybody’s feedback onto the virtual whiteboard using different colors so that you can differentiate who said what. You could also ask them to place different types of virtual stickers onto the whiteboard to signal what they like and don’t like during the brainstorming session. Encourage the meeting participants to place happy stickers on the ideas that they think will work. Conversely, they can also put sad stickers on the ideas that they believe may need more work before being implemented into the company. Better yet, if you use BlueJeans enterprise video conferencing for IT, encourage your co-workers to come up with their own virtual corkboards and share the documents using Blue Jeans.

4. Ask At Least One Person to Co-Facilitate the Discussion with You
Having trouble wrangling everybody together each time you hold a virtual conference? Each time you meet up over the internet, why not assign somebody to help you out? Not only is this a great way to take some of the pressure off of you, but it’s a fantastic method for building the other participant’s confidence. Plus, once they’re center-stage and have to take the lead, participants are less likely to dilly-daddle since they’ll want to get back to their more important tasks as soon as possible.

5. Require Everybody to Speak Up
You’re going to have a few shy participants in every meeting, and while that’s okay, there’s no point in inviting them if they aren’t going to weigh in on the discussion. So make sure to check who hasn’t spoken up yet and encourage them to contribute to the conference with a few leading questions. If all else fails, you can just ask the participant how they’re feeling about the idea at that particular moment. You can also encourage discussion among each of the participants using methods such as going on rounds, speed dating, and surveys, according to an article on LinkedIn.

6. Encourage People to Give Positive Feedback First
Make it clear at the beginning of the discussion that you want to encourage positive feedback each time somebody brings up an idea. Say, for example, that you won’t move on with critique until you’ve heard at least three positive things about an idea. By doing so, you ensure that everybody feels validated if they speak up during the meeting. If you notice anybody breaking the rules by bringing up only the negative first, gently remind them of your agreement and continue being strict with your policy.

Are you still having trouble making the conference feel livelier? Don’t worry. This takes practice, so keep at it and you’ll eventually get better at taking the lead for these professional discussions. Keep everybody hooked onto the discussion and you’ll be out of those virtual conference doors within an hour or less. Good luck!