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7 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Get All Voices Heard in Your Next Virtual Meeting
Do you ever wonder if there are people in your virtual sessions who may not be sharing what's on their minds?
I wonder about this a lot. In my early online training sessions, I could sense that there were participants who were holding back. I knew they had something to say, but I couldn't figure out how to draw it out.
The truth is that in most online meetings people don't speak up.
According to some remote working studies - 70% of virtual meeting participants say it's always difficult to contribute or be part of a conversation when on video calls. That means that it is way easier to become a silent observer than an active participant.
And the cost of not getting voices heard is enormous.
The problem is that when your group members don't speak up, you lose so many valuable ideas and insights. Participants can feel bored, frustrated, and even excluded if they can't contribute in a meaningful way.
Don't leave it to chance.
I've learned that getting all voices in the room doesn't happen by accident. As the online facilitator, your #1 job is to make it easy for ✨everyone✨ to contribute their ideas - even the shy ones.
There are tried-and-tested ways you can get all voices heard.
The good news is that there are simple strategies for getting all of your group members to chime in. And when you use these strategies you'll help all group members feel included, they'll speak up, and get more value from your session.
Here are 7 surprisingly easy ways for getting all voices in the Zoom room.
1/ Use Names
Greet your group members by their names as they arrive and throughout the session.
Using names makes people feel seen and heard. You'll communicate to your group members that they are important to you and so are their ideas.
2/ Start With a Prompt
Start with a low-risk icebreaker question that everyone can answer in the chat and narrate responses.
This helps to warm up your group members and makes it more likely they'll contribute ideas throughout the session.
3/ Turn on Mics
Invite participants to turn on their mics and say hello at the start of the session.
This has the effect of breaking silence. And you'll give people an opportunity to hear their own voices and the voices of others.
4/ Ask Directly
Propose an agreement that asks people to speak up in the session, and let them know the benefits they'll get when they do.
Asking directly helps to set the expectation that you want to hear from everyone. And it helps motivate people to participate.
5/ Give Options
Let people know how they can contribute. And give them as many options as possible. For example in the chat, verbally, or on a shared whiteboard.
This makes it easy for people to share their insights and ideas in ways that feel most natural to them.
6/ Balance Voices
If you are leading a group discussion, ask to hear from people you haven't heard from before.
When you do, you'll signal that you want to hear from all group members. And you'll encourage the "shy" participants to speak up.
7/ Talk Less
The more you speak, the fewer opportunities your group members have to get their voices heard.
Talking less will open space for your group members to participate.
Getting people to speak up in your virtual session doesn't happen by accident.
As the leader, it's your job to proactively design ways to help your group members to chime in.
Follow these tips and you'll see an explosion of engagement and satisfaction in your online meetings.
TL;DR 7 Pro Tips for getting all voices heard in your virtual meetings👇
Tip 1: ✅ Use Names
Tip 2: ✅ Start With A Prompt
Tip 3: ✅ Turn On Mics
Tip 4: ✅ Ask Directly
Tip 5: ✅ Give Options
Tip 6: ✅ Balance Voices
Tip 7: ✅ Talk Less
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