Learn about the 13 different ways to make virtual meetings more interactive and boost your coaching sessions with these creative and engaging ideas.
Virtual meetings are the new fun and new normal.
Businesses are going virtual whether it’s in teaching, coaching, or corporate business.
So, to transact business, virtual meetings have become inevitable.
By the word ‘virtual’, all of us can get it easily that the idea includes ‘online’ meetings.
And to be honest, how many of you are already indulged in virtual meetings?
Especially coaches these days are accepting the ‘Virtual’ coaching approach because it is easier and people are loving it even more.
Obviously, when you can interact with each other by sitting at one spot, talk to each other, listen to each other in a peaceful place, who would want to run to places to do it?
This article is especially for those coaches who are either running their business online or are planning to start.
We think that we should go through these 13 important points together, to know how we can make these virtual meetings more interactive and attractive.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
13 ways to make virtual meetings more interactive:
- Write Down The Objectives of Every Session
- Encourage Members’ Participation
- Pick Curiosity With Pre-session Activities
- Include Virtual Icebreakers
- Interact Via The Chat Feature
- Let Members Interact in Virtual Breakout Rooms
- Ask Attendees What They Wish to Learn
- Let Attendees Draw on A Whiteboard
- Create Opinion Polls and Quizzes
- Include Emotion In Your Teachings
- Ask Open-ended Questions
- Schedule Breaks Between The Session
- Choose The Right Technology
Some ways to make virtual meetings more creative include writing down the session objectives, encouraging participation, arousing curiosity, including ice-breakers and breaks, asking for feedback and acting upon it, creating polls, including emotion, asking open-ended questions, and choosing the right technology.
1. Write The Objectives Of Every Session
Before you start any session with your clients, whether you are going to interact with your clients individually or having a group meeting, you should know that there should be some points written down with you.
You should be clear in your head about the topics; what are you going to talk about today, what aspects would you be putting in front of them?
What kind of cross-questioning would be there and what kind of results do you expect from them at the end of the meeting?
Because after all, coaching is all about success and results.
And the beginning you would choose for them will lead them further towards their ending (of the meeting or given task).
One thing leads to another and that is how a chain of behaviour is produced and built up.
It would have a bad impact on your personality and business if you will not be clear about the topic while you are having a session with your client.
So, a few written down objectives would result in a controlled-session, you can even discuss the objectives of sessions with your clients to let them know what all of you would be expecting for the end of it.
2. Encourage Members’ Participation
It is obvious that when you are sharing your objectives of the session with your clients, you would be expecting something in return from them.
And it will give them the motivation to do and act appropriately.
Your clients’ participation should be encouraged strategically because without it there would be no results.
Encourage them and motivate them to participate in the sessional arguments, ask them about their opinions and the ways they think they should adopt to achieve wanted behaviours.
Cross-question them, let them know how much their choice of words matter, but they shouldn’t feel constant pressure on them.
Encourage them to keep their cameras on while conferencing, because some of them may feel shy and do not participate in class/session.
Whenever they will feel that their voice in the session matters, they will feel appreciated.
3. Pick Curiosity With Pre-Session Activities
Creating a sense of curiosity in your clients before sessions is also a strategy to keep them interested in the sessions.
You can make it happen by various methods, for instance:
- you can create landing pages for your business.
- keep them posted about the topics you will be discussing in the posts.
- Post some motivational pictures and videos on your page for them.
- Let them know about the effects and results of the topics to be discussed in the sessions.
- They should know the benefits of the given tasks and topics.
Ice-breakers are very helpful and they can help to build a sense of community from the first point of interaction.
Whenever you are going to start, get the session started with an interesting ice-breaker, you can start it with some games or ask them to show a few interesting things on the camera laid down around them.
4. Include Virtual Icebreakers
As we have talked about it in our previous point, ice-breaking is important in any kind of conversation.
Whether it is a meeting, session or class.
If not everyone, there are always a few people who feel resistant to talk first or to be hesitant.
Icebreaking strategies can be various, as we discussed, you can play some games, ask them to show interesting items placed beside them, on screen.
A simple joke strategy can also break the ice, which is used by most of the teachers.
Icebreakers actually help in building a good and comfortable human connection.
And it can be especially useful when you run online training/sessions as a virtual coach.
You have to be creative about it and thus creating a trivia game on the training topics can be very helpful and useful.
See what participants already know about it or encourage everyone to show up with a virtual background from their favourite movie or something else they’re passionate about, which is a great way to get the conversation started.
5. Interact Via The Chat Feature
Even in a simple classroom, where the teacher asks questions and when he gives value to one student’s answer, what happens to that student?
That student feels appreciated, and as a result, he starts focusing in class more and he tries to stay attentive.
The same thing happens in this virtual session.
After asking open questions, tell the learners to write down their replies and answers in the chatbox.
Where everyone can read each other’s replies and the coach can read them out loud.
Pick one or two answers which you think are most suitable, read them out loud and ask everyone to discuss them in the session.
This interaction via the chat feature encourages everyone to answer openly because there can be a few people who might not be comfortable speaking their answers loudly in front of everyone.
Besides, it gives everyone an opportunity to answer without getting their voices interrupted.
6. Let Members Interact In Virtual Breakout Rooms
Breakout rooms are also very useful in the situation where you have a larger group of people in the session.
Just divide them into smaller groups; into the breakout rooms.
Ask them to interact with each other in those rooms, within their smaller groups.
Breakout rooms are also very valuable, especially while they try the formulation of ideas and it allows them a chance for true creativity and application of what is taught.
Once it is done, make sure to have all groups present back to the whole training class.
GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, and Zoom are good examples of platforms that allow you to create breakout rooms.
7. Ask Attendees What They Wish To Learn
Keep asking your attendees about the topics they want to learn, about whether they think that such topics and strategies can help them in growing.
It encourages them to stay alert and motivated.
Whenever a learner knows their opinion and feedback is valued, he will always take more interest in learning and will feel motivated.
This way they feel they are a valuable asset as an individual in the group.
Suggest that everyone should set their written goals aside and move forward for a week as their instincts call.
This might result in a very good opportunity for a coach to see which ones are already motivated in the programme and which ones are not.
It is kind of a natural strategy.
8. Let Attendees Draw On A Whiteboard
All the group members should work together as a team, no matter where they are and from wherever they are.
Especially to support and encourage each other.
This type of encouragement and support results in positive thoughts and happiness.
Not to forget, a pattern of good behaviour starts this way.
And to let everyone work as one team, the whiteboard can help successfully in virtual coaching.
Even though it doesn’t matter if you are working individually or as part of a team, an online whiteboard can help you jot down and also organize your ideas quickly.
With templates, freehand drawing, sticky notes, and other intuitive features, you can easily participate in a variety of creative brainstorming activities.
The infinite canvas of the whiteboard lets the coach and his clients spread out over different areas of the board so everyone has enough space to present their ideas.
It sounds so productive and creative.
9. Create Opinion Polls And Quizzes
We always talk about how much opinion-taking in the coaching business results in a good strategy.
It does not only create a sense of being an important member or programme in the client’s mind, in fact, it also helps them to brainstorm.
They know that they have to be productive to succeed; they know that they have to be brave enough to say whatever is in their mind.
This act develops a good habit in them to speak up their minds in the workplaces too.
They start to feel comfortable in their skin, which is the best part of it because being comfortable with your own self is a risk that only brave people take.
That is why creating opinion polls and quizzes to know the thoughts and ideas of clients is also necessary for a coaching programme.
These opinion polls and quizzes are not only useful for virtual coaching but are also necessary for an in-person coaching approach.
10. Include Emotion In Your Teachings
Letting your clients feel comfortable with their own emotions is also a brave side of coaching.
In fact, emotional speeches and emotional posts and videos make them feel motivated more than any other thing, especially when other motivational approaches do not work on a few.
Including emotions in teaching is a creative part of counselling.
For instance, think about why people get attracted to influencers online?
Why do people listen to them and their advice?
Why do people follow them and their steps on every hot-in-trend social media site?
They listen to them because they talk about their real-life stories, they tell their followers about the real events that happened to them and how they emerged out of them, how they became a start, how they got rid of their worries?
And all of this includes a lot of emotions.
Coaches should counsel their clients with real emotional deals, they should know when to add the emotional association with the client’s mind to encourage them towards success and independence.
11. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Just like any professional counselling-session, coaching questioning-strategy is also quite tricky.
Questioning skills cannot be taken lightly by any coach.
If you want to know the true mind of your client, never ask close-ended questions, because in them he will only answer you in YES or NO, which won’t tell you anything about him.
Always go for open-ended questions, ask them such questions in which they can clearly express their minds.
For instance, do you think you are a shy person that is why you do not speak openly in public?
Or why do you think you cannot speak up your mind in large gatherings?
Now we can clearly see that in the first question the client will most probably answer yes or no.
But, in the second question, this statement is giving them a chance to articulate the issues they think they might have.
12. Schedule Breaks Between The Session
A long session always includes a break, if it wants to keep people interested in it.
A normal coaching session is of 90 minutes, which is not less.
People might get bored, feel less interested, topics can digress from their original goals.
And to lessen these conflicts, a good coach always plans short breaks between the sessions.
Make sure to mute the microphone and pause the recording at the start of each break.
You can turn it back on when the sessions resume.
Attendees are also less likely to be distracted and feel bored if they know they would have 10 to 15 minutes to themselves at the end of every session.
Coaches can also resume their sessions after a break with an activity, like a quiz, poll, or something like these.
These will make sure that all the attendees are engaged, again.
During breaks, use a placeholder slide with music, as well as a countdown timer, which sounds quite fun.
13. Choose The Right Technology
One of the most common & biggest mistakes is when you start playing with virtual training as a small side project that’s not allocated enough time or resources.
Then not choosing the right technology can give you a setback in the middle of your programme, which obviously no one wants.
To run a successful business, you have to know about all the things you’re going to use, before initiating the programme.
For example, if you are using a software, you have to know it works, what its functions are, what activities it allows you to perform, what is this offering which no other software is offering.
If you are using whiteboard software, you must know about how it works, if you are using virtual breakout rooms know how they work before you add your clients to it.
Choosing the right type of technology for your programme and knowing completely about its work will give your clients a good impression of your capabilities and skillfulness.
They’ll know that they are in hands of a true professional, on which they can rely completely.
These are the 13 important points you should all know about, before starting your virtual coaching business.
Believe us, they will surely make you look good and professional in front of your clients.
You also make the participants ready to trust their coach.
We wish you Good Luck and Happy Coaching.
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Amber is a professional creative writer of articles, stories, essays, speeches, and all kinds of literary analyses. She’s been successfully working for magazines, newspapers and published an international English research article for David Publishing of NYC and China.
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