You are—an event planner! That’s what you are when you are conducting a virtual meeting.

This is not a meeting; this is an experience.

So what other experience might come to mind that’s work related? A workshop. Think about what happens when you’ve got a workshop going on, when you’re conducting that. It starts with you, you’re leading that event and it is a mix of learning styles in that room, it’s a mix of personalities. You want to keep things moving, you want to keep everybody engaged.

Well, that’s what you’re doing with your virtual meeting experience. It starts with the top, it starts with you which means you have to think about what you can bring to stir things up and keep everybody invigorated. You don’t know what they’re doing with their phones. You may be on Zoom or some other kind of visual meeting platform, but you don’t know what else they’re doing.

So, what can you do to make your meeting interesting? You can bring a story. Perhaps you’re a storyteller. Maybe there is a really interesting anecdote that you can pull (I’m sure you can from something in the days prior) and incorporate into the meeting. People will start to know and look forward to those stories that you bring, and that will set a stamp on that experience. It will leave people thinking, well, I don’t want to miss the meeting because I don’t want to miss one of those amazing stories she tells! Maybe you’re like me and you like to use props. Whatever it is, stir it up with something that is your personality but is integrated into the focus and the point of that meeting.

The second piece of this of course is your audience. Make no mistake about it, it isn’t your team that’s sitting there, that you’re looking at, it’s your audience. So, what you have to do of course is keep them engaged. Think about the workshop example again. There are lots of different learning styles that you plan for when you have a workshop, so you’ve got your auditory learner, your tactile learner, the person who’s more visual, you know what I’m talking about.

So think about that when you’re planning your virtual meeting. What can you do to help engage the different people in your meeting? How can you mix that experience up so there are all those different kinds of elements whether it’s sound, or visuals—props are a visual—what can you do to involve your audience? Maybe get some people to bring a prop, get them to tell a story—or something I love is improv. Yes! It’s great. What you can do from a story perspective is you can get one person to start a story on whatever topic you’re discussing. The next person contributes a few words, and the next person. Everybody gets going, they laugh, and most of all what often happens is they end up creating. It’s like another way to brainstorm.

So, don’t forget—you are not somebody holding a virtual meeting, you are an event planner and you are creating an experience.