Let’s face it, multitasking during an all-hands meeting webcast has become the norm – particularly during internal meetings. It’s hard to pay attention to the hoopla happening at the home office when you have a priority list ten pages long and customers knocking down your digital door! Add to that the lure of any other number of non-work distractions (hello WeRateDogs), and you can count on a large percentage of your remote employees missing out on critical updates and culture building. BUT, if you plan your internal meetings thoughtfully and treat them as events – even for those outside of the home office – you can ensure maximum engagement.
Several of our clients have been successfully playing with different ways to get remote employees to step away from the distractions and participate in their live streamed meetings. Here are some of their best practices:
Set up mini-meetings at remote offices. Replicate your home office meeting environment as closely as possible at your remote offices, even if there are only a handful of people. Create a culture where people come into the office on team meeting days and gather in a conference room together, because the meeting is a chance to connect, learn, stay-up-to-date, and have some fun.
Make remote office meetings BETTER than the home office. Homebase will usually have LOTS of people and the seating options may be more limited. When there are fewer people, you have the chance to spiff it up a bit. Move away from theater-style seating and bring in comfy chairs or soft seating arrangements with small tables, so groups can collaborate during the meeting. Speaking of which…
Keep it interactive. Throughout the meeting, intersperse explicit opportunities for engagement. Use second-screen technology for live polls and quizzes, or come up with small projects groups can do to reinforce the message you’re trying to convey. The second screen technology is an excellent tool to keep those home-based workers engaged too.
Tailor content for short attention spans. It’s not that people can’t pay attention anymore; it’s that there is so much out there, only the most interesting information wins their attention for longer periods of time. To make sure your audience takes away what you want them to, keep your content short and sweet. Ten-minute segments are perfect since attention starts to wander after that.
Reinforce your Message Post-Meeting. As you can see from the image above, there’s a steep drop-off in how much people will remember. Send a written summary after your meeting, send a quiz a day later, follow-up with reinforcement messages for your most critical content throughout the following month.
Make it fun. Use fun technology like Catch Box to “pass the mic” for questions (that’s right, even in your remote offices – they have questions too!). Cater the meeting or set up a BBQ immediately following. Think outside the box!
Give thanks. Today more than ever, appreciation is a top employee motivator. Adding a meeting segment where employees can share something great a co-worker did, either on-the-spot or through nomination ahead of time, can drive attendance and attention. You might also consider quarterly company awards in various categories.
Get professionals involved. We’ve all probably been on the receiving end of a poorly run webcast or even one of those conference calls where we’re the only one remote and everyone in the room is talking and it sounds like a trainwreck (yikes!). If you don’t have an in-house team of pros to run your live stream, engage experts who can ensure your remote teams can hear the speaker (and not the home attendee crowd), see visuals clearly, and have a smooth experience all around.