What are the best ways to engage participants on conference calls? Yesterday I was teaching a team from the RSA some remote facilitation basics, and I shared this little list:

  1. Prepare well and appear organised
  2. Explain why you’re doing/suggesting things
  3. Share tasks such as note-taking, timekeeping
  4. Poll individuals
  5. Use video
  6. Use visuals (such as the “where is everybody?” map on this page)
  7. Use stories
  8. Use questions
  9. Use breakout rooms.

This is based on a list by Penny Pullan in her book Virtual Leadership. But I’ve added number 9, as I think it makes a huge difference.

I love adapting the Liberating Structures for the online environment, using Zoom. Nearly all of them work very well.

Even the RSA, an organisation which can sometimes have a bit of a dinosaurish style, is starting to shift to these more participative approaches. Quite simply, they keep people engaged in the call, rather than distracted by other things.

  • Want to try this out? If you have a distributed team, why not book me for a virtual lunch-and-learn? Contact me here.

    2 replies to "The 9 Best Ways To Engage Participants On Conference Calls"

    • Nancy Settle-Murphy

      Thanks, Judy (and Penny!) I would add: Keep people multitasking on task. That is, give them something to do with their itchy little fingers every few minutes – whether it’s to type in an idea, answer a quick poll, comment on someone else’s response, etc. If you keep them busy, they’re less likely to wander away to focus on the next bright shiny object. This meeting has to be that bright shiny object!

    • JR

      Excellent idea Nancy, many thanks for sharing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.