Energizing Virtual Meetings: No More ZZZZZ’s

I recently attended a great session on conducting productive virtual meetings by Joyce Weiss, training and development specialist and an Institute for Organization Management faculty member.

She started with the following statement – “It’s all about engagement!”

She talked about how it’s important to get people on camera, don’t let them do other things, like “shampooing the cat,” a real-life example she gave.

She talked about a study that stated that 86% of attendees were fully engaged, as good as face-to-face meetings, if the following five rules are followed.

5 Rules for Online Meetings:

  • The 60 Second Rule – use a statistic or story to let participants understand the content immediately.
  • The Responsibility Rule – set the tone that participants are not observers and the session will be participatory.
  • The Nowhere to Hide Rule – use break out rooms and give clear and special tasks to let everyone know their role.
  • The Power Point NO Overload Rule – mix facts and stories and use minimal slides unless it’s a webinar.
  • The 4 Minute Rule – never go longer than 4 minutes without giving the group an activity (write a comment in the chat function, stand up, reflect on your presentation).

She went on and gave us 4 Tips for Setting Your Virtual Agenda:

Openers – never be boring!  Start with an informal opening by asking a question, let people know what to expect and allow them to get comfortable for the session.  Start with a statistic or story.

Revisit – go back to previous comments and tie them in to help retention of information.  It allows participants to write things down and stay involved!

Energizers – tools you can use to get folks involved, ask a question and make them stand up, go to a breakout room, two opposing views.  Or have a controlled stretch break.


Closers – action plan to tie it all together and leave time to allow for celebration.  People need to leave feeling good about themselves.  And don’t forget to give them a challenge!


For more information on Joyce Weiss and her work go HERE.