Numerous studies regarding the effects of too much “screen time” on our bodies have shown the dangers of being in front of your computer or TV. Yet, as the world goes increasingly virtual, this is often the only way to communicate in the work environment.
As your university meetings move to Zooms and other remote platforms, you’ve noticed there’s a range of opinions regarding the change. Some people prefer this forum over the traditional in-person meetings that are often, let’s admit, boring and not relatable to many of the attendees. Others would prefer the social contact that comes with meeting on campus or at an event.
Regardless of the preferences, the reality is that virtual meetings are a part of today’s academic world, and the foreseeable future. So, when you’re tasked with presenting your next meeting online, you end up facing new challenges, such as virtual meeting fatigue. Your attendees are often “over” remote meetings, they’re tired of staring at a screen, and they feel isolated from the conversation. It’s your job as the presenter to bring everyone together in a way that makes them feel connected and energized.
5 Steps to Reduce Fatigue for You and Your Attendees
Replacing in-person meetings, either for good or as a temporary stopgap in between conferences, means getting to know how to handle video presentations. These virtual meetings mean your attendees are going to stay at their desks, where they’ve already been for most of the day.
This brings everyone that “virtual meeting fatigue” feeling that often leads to burnout, and will likely result in a lack of focus and interest in whatever you have to say. The good news is that if you’re proactive, you can avoid this fatigue. Here are five easy steps to wake up your audience, and get and keep them engaged.
- Start with an icebreaker. Most meeting presenters do this naturally in in-person meetings, so why not do the same thing with your virtual event? Find a way to get people to turn their cameras and audio on, get comfortable, and join in on the fun. Games like Round Robin or a scavenger hunt are popular, or do a pet meet and greet where everyone can introduce their furry (or not-so-furry) favorite animals.
- Check-in regularly with your attendees. At strategic intervals throughout the presentation, use question and answer sessions to poll your audience’s comprehension and interest. Create questions that are easy to answer with a yes or no message, or a private sentence.
- Consider your background. There are so many ways to use a green screen or other methods and change your background. For instance, instead of letting participants see your office area, switch it to a deep space background and use that theme to plan your meeting. Set games and topics around the idea that you’re all rocketing through space. It may sound childish, but you’d be amazed at how these unique ideas propel productivity and creativity in even the most stoic adults.
- Schedule screen breaks. If your meeting is going to be longer than 15-20 minutes, give everyone the opportunity to take a breather. Plan a stretch break or a virtual coffee break. You could use your backgrounds to put a water cooler or teacher’s lounge on your computer, and let people mill about and network online if they want, as though they were on a conference break in person.
- Keep to your agenda. Your agenda should be prepared early and sent out before the conference begins. This allows everyone to know what to expect, how to be prepared to respond and participate, and stick to a time frame.
Using Impactio to Improve Your Scholarship
As you get familiar with the new world of academics and what it looks like, you’ll always be trying to grow as a scholar. Technology is integral to this growth, and when you join Impactio, you’re on the forefront of this evolution.
Impactio’s data analytics tools provide you with the knowledge you need to see how your work is faring after publication. Which areas are your strengths? Where is growth necessary? With visual data representation showing you all of the statistics that your scholarly reputation is based on, the knowledge you get from Impactio will guide your career in strategic and influential ways.