How to keep your Zoom meetings engaging

Jan 18, 2021

Plan your agenda and assign roles

Plan your agenda before the meeting and send it out to team members. Have specific subjects to cover. This will help to keep everyone on track without wasted time.

If your agenda’s just draft, encourage feedback and questions. This allows team members to workout confusing points before the session begins. Regardless of your meeting size, a plan is important. Assign different team members different roles and tasks so everyone feels invested in the meeting.


There’s nothing more frustrating than when a team member isn’t listening and you can tell. Maybe they’re up next to speak so they’re rehearsing their own presentation. Maybe you haven’t properly reviewed your notes and your team can tell by the “erms” and pauses. Prepare and encourage others to do the same.

Limit participants

Only invite people who need to be there. Not only are big meetings shown to be ineffective, when there are lots of participants, we have the tendency to tune out – especially as you’re more likely to talk over people and face lags and glitches.

Establish the rules of the meeting

Decide on whether or not participants should have cameras and microphones on. That way, guests can prepare their meeting space and adjust their surroundings accordingly. If it’s important for one or a few speakers to have control over the meeting, tell everyone else to go on mute to cut out the possibility of technical difficulties.

If video isn’t necessary, let people know. This can help them feel more relaxed and focus on what’s being said, rather than worry about how they look.

Have a comfortable chair

Remember, the aim of Zoom meetings is too minimise distractions, and this includes wriggling in your chair. Make sure you’re comfortable and focused. And if you’re the type to get cold from sitting still for too long, make sure your room’s a comfortable temperature. No one needs to see you putting on jumpers or removing layers.

Now that your meeting has begun…

Make introductions

Not only is this the polite and done thing at the beginning of meetings, it’s especially useful for people who haven’t selected grid view. By introducing meeting participants and speakers, everyone will know exactly who’s on the call.

Introduce the agenda

There shouldn’t be much confusion here if you’ve already sent out the goals and agenda for the meeting. At the beginning of the meeting the host should remind the group of the order of business. They can also announce any amendments to the plan. You can share files or drop notes in the chat function.

Encourage participation

You should encourage audience participation from the start of the meeting. If you’re the host, ask questions that encourage attendees to participate. Use features like polls to make your team members feel comfortable sharing their opinions. Take pauses so that audience members can find a moment to chime in.

Keep the energy up

If hosts and presenters speak in a mundane tone, the attendees will get bored. Channel the energy you want your them to reciprocate. Do this by speaking with enthusiasm and asking questions. Remember not to speak too quickly. Slow yourself down with occasional pauses and deep breaths.

Use visuals, graphs, and multimedia

Like in any presentation, too much text can be counterproductive and muddy the message. Incorporate other forms of interesting media into your presentation, via screen or file share on Zoom.

Break up the meeting

Everyone needs a break from the screen. In order to encourage engagement, consider setting a few checkpoints across the meeting. Assign breaks at points after certain agenda items or to give attendees a chance to mull over what’s been discussed.

Pro tip: We get it, many of us have set up our remote workspaces in the kitchen. Don’t schedule a meeting around mealtimes. If your audience is hungry, they’ll be distracted and maybe even eat a sandwich over your call. If the meeting is over a mealtime, make it clear people can eat (with the mute button on).

Keep it brief

Like any meeting, don’t let it run on longer than necessary. A short burst of information and engagement is more effective than a long, drawn out meeting with several breaks. If you’re planning your weekly round-up, short and sweet is most effective.

Combat Zoom fatigue

Team members could be fatigued because odds are, your Zoom meeting isn’t the first of the day. Combat fatigue by rotating speakers frequently. You can also use the Breakout Room feature on Zoom to encourage participation in smaller groups. This gives audience members a breather from the main meeting and also allows them to stimulate personal connection.

Set aside time for questions

For larger events, you may want to practice, organise, and execute a Q&A session. For smaller meetings, simply allocate a short bit of time for questions at the end.


Engagement shouldn’t end when you close Zoom. Send out follow-up content and ask attendees for feedback or questions they might not have voiced. By following up, you can also gain feedback to help you prepare for optimal engagement in your next meeting.

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