Do you often find yourself drifting off after only a few minutes in a Zoom meeting?
Most likely it’s because we’re not emotionally engaged at an optimum level. And when it comes to group meetings, it’s often due to the Ringelmann Effect. Ringelmann proved that there’s an inverse relationship between the size of the group and the size of each group members’ individual contribution. So if we feel we aren’t, or can’t, truly make a difference, why emotionally engage?
And if we don’t have “skin in the game” it’s easy to slide into checking our email, web surfing, or planning our weekend.
Get The Most From Your Zoom Meetings Now
I recently led a full day workshop on Zoom, with super high engagement—actually, it was even higher that I had hoped! When my client gave rave reviews, I realized it was essential that I share what worked.
Here’s what I did:
1 – Start (And End) With An Emotion Check. Have everyone say how they’re feeling by using the Emotion Wheel
graphic showing a wheel with emotion names
Emotion Wheel, Smart Tribes InstituteSMART TRIBES INSTITUTE
This will help the meeting leader “read” the room, and address any proverbial elephants or issues up front. When the air is cleared, people can be present instead of ruminating on what is unsaid or being avoided. Remember to use the Meta Model when someone tells you their emotional experience. If they say they’re feeling __(their emotion here)__ ask what specifically they are ____(their emotion here)____about. Never assume you know what a person is feeling, and why! Compare everyone’s emotional states before the meeting and at the end… this will be helpful feedback for moving forward.
2- Have A Role For Everyone. This will help you counteract the Ringelmann Effect and keep the oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin flowing . I had a list of all the leaders in my workshop, the departments they worked in, and their roles. So I could easily call out to individuals and ask their opinion on a given topic, relevant to their expertise. Likewise in a meeting, everyone needs a role. If they don’t have one, why are they present? See the effective meeting process our clients love here to help you clarify:
· who needs to be in the meeting, and why. If they can’t add value, they shouldn’t be there
· how to time box a meeting for optimal results
· how to let everyone feel heard without wasting time
· and more!
3- 10 Minute Breaks, 10-15 Minute Labs, Frequent Questions Increase Blood Flow To The Decision-Making Center Of The Brain. A 10 minute break every hour will work wonders for engagement. Make sure you ask everyone to get up and move. Give them a question or topic to ponder to keep their prefrontal cortex in visionary/problem-solving mode. Likewise, having people move into breakout rooms to brainstorm solutions or solve problems keeps everyone on their toes. Then their findings are reported out to the larger group when the lab is over. I had 11 labs during 6 hours of content in my workshop. The labs were either solo, large group, 2 person, or teams of 4. Labs were every 10-15 minutes, so everyone knew they had to pay attention.
4 – Summarize Topics To Refocus Everyone, Add Due Diligence To Decisions. Since many of us are working from home, distractions like kids and pets will happen. Be sure to recap what was just covered with a quick summary to bring everyone back. Do the same with decisions made, agreements/accountability/follow up items so all understand who owns what post-meeting and when the deadline is. Remember the brain likes specific deadlines with a date and time (Thursday, 4pm) and also watch out for cognitive bias, so your team doesn’t make unrealistic commitments.
· Use the above tools to keep the brains of your team engaged during Zoom meetings
· Honor the brain by paying attention to breaks and emotions
· Engage everyone by ensuring the right people are present and an effective meeting process is followed
Christine Comaford is a leadership and culture coach. She hosts the podcast, Crack the Behavior Code, and would love to offer you access to her free mini-course, the Emotional Resilience Mini-Course