Engage Literally Everyone at Your Next Meeting

Engage Literally Everyone at Your Next Meeting

Engage Literally Everyone at Your Next Meeting

You look at your audience and they all have this glazed look in their eyes. No one is asking questions, instead, they keep glancing at their phones. You’ve lost their attention.

You could shift the blame and say, “Oh well, the meeting was right after lunch, everyone was sleepy.” Or, “It’s impossible to get everyone engaged in virtual meetings. When they’re working from home you can’t expect them to pay attention.”

But as an executive who is invested in not only your success but the success of your team, you’re not looking for excuses. You want to do things differently so that every time you’re communicating, you’re making a real difference. You want to engage your audience so they benefit and implement what you’re sharing. The last thing you have time for is boring, unproductive meetings!

The good news is the strategies I’m about to share work, whether you’re meeting one-on-one, in an informal meeting with your team, or for a company-wide presentation.

6 Ways to Engage Your Audience at Meetings

Choose When to Show Up

You may be invited to a meeting, but it’s not critical that you attend. I share with my executive clients that the only meetings they need to attend are those that are tied to their top three priorities and where they have value to share.  If not, then send another person and free up your calendar. (Many of my executive clients have saved eight hours a week by not attending the meetings that aren’t critical to their priorities). The worst thing you can do is to show up disengaged and unprepared. That’s not the reputation you want to build as a leader.

Know Your Audience

What is the end result you are trying to obtain by giving a presentation? Why do they need to know this content and why is it critical that they act now? Start your presentation with this, and you’ll get greater engagement, fast buy-in and keep them listening during the rest of the meeting. You have to know who the audience is and how to frame your message to resonate and help them. That is what I call the Martial Arts of Language when you can frame your message to achieve the result you are looking for.

Have Only Three Key Points

This is a trick master communicators use. By only having three points, the presentation is easy to follow and remember. So, even if it’s an informal team meeting, prepare ahead by coming up with a list of no more than three things you want them to walk away with and implement.

Be a Fierce Self-editor

Some leaders think that the more facts, details, and technical jargon they share, the better they sound. The reality is that clarity of message is what matters most. If you drown your audience with boring data and “FYIs,” you’ll lose them and won’t get them back for the rest of the meeting. Get to the point quickly and if they don’t have to know it, don’t share it!

Weave in Your Corporate DNA

What I call Corporate DNA encompasses your business’s unique objectives, brand values, and culture. When you regularly communicate the company’s purpose, values, and objectives in your messaging, it starts to stick. Think about soundbites that you can start incorporating into your meetings that will resonate with your team and remind them of your joint mission. Here are a few examples of soundbites: We always go the extra mile, Everyone deserves to be heard, Big risks mean big rewards.

Carefully Curate Your Presentation Slides

If you’re using slides, don’t throw them together at the last minute. Here are a few ways to make sure your slides pack a punch:

  • Don’t use too many slides. You are the presenter of the content, not your slides. Be strategic about how and when you use them.
  • Make them less dense. It should take seconds, not minutes, to digest the content on the slide.
  • Make sure they reinforce your key points. Remember to think about the three main points of your presentation. Is what’s on the slide supporting one of those points or is it out of context?

Every time you’re communicating at work you want to be intentional in how you lead. You want a reputation as an effective communicator who has major influence and always gains buy-in. Some of these strategies may seem rather basic but it’s amazing how many people ignore the basics! I encourage you to determine right now which strategies you will implement at your next meeting.

Implementation Strategies for Your Next Meeting

Ask Yourself:

  • Do I have value to share? If not, the best strategy might be not going.
  • How well do I know my audience? If you’re not sure, don’t guess. Do some research, ask questions, and become a better listener.
  • What are my soundbites? Come up with two or three and start weaving them into every meeting.
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