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  • Héctor A. Venegas

Stop boring your participants to death

Step by step meetings and events are finding their way back into our daily work life.

Some of us are actually going to the office again, others are working remotely. Meetings and events are mostly still happening online.

But thankfully they are happening again.

I can’t stress out enough, how important the communication is.

I think the Corona times have finally shown everyone in any industry that meetings and events are not only the place where people gather to have a chat, a wine or a beer and a good time, but are essential for communication, learning and sharing ideas.

When meetings and events started happening again, they had to be transferred into online meetings as well as some hybrid meetings. I have attended a lot of them lately.

I have also conducted some and given a ton of online lectures.

Unfortunately, I see that there is a new pattern growing in online meetings and events.

Most of them are conducted as a webinar. Meaning, that someone is sending 90% of the time and the participants are on the receiving end.

A lot of Meeting Designers like me have been fighting this pattern in face-to-face meetings and events for years quite successfully… AND NOW IT’S BACK…. Noooooo!!!

What it creates, when you do the meeting one dimensional, is that you lose the attention from your participants and they drift off to do other things. In online or hybrid meetings you see the videos from the participants go offline throughout the meeting (if they ever were on in the first place), and the audio never being switched on again.

The participants, being pushed into an inactive role, start communicating with the meeting host through the chat function only.

Thus, it gets more one dimensional as a face-to-face meeting could ever be.

This is what I would call a webinar…not an online meeting or event. One of those, that could have been recorded beforehand.

And I’m not saying that a webinar is something bad, it’s just is not a meeting. It’s more like watching TV. You can do a lot of other things while it is running…AND YOU DO!

I have experienced that the participants in online meetings are so well trained to be inactive, that it’s really hard to get them out of this newly learned comfort zone.

But we cannot and shouldn't simply accept that. Having learned over many years that people have to share ideas and thoughts to be able to learn something new, we have to make them participate!

For that any meeting or event (online, hybrid or face-to-face) has to be planned or designed and not only organized.

We have to make sure, to send the participants the topics and the agenda beforehand and assign each of them specific roles, they will have to take within the meeting.

We have to give them something to reflect on before we start the meeting.

If we take that into account and use the specific rules that apply for online meetings, like making sure that we communicate the way the participants can understand, taking into consideration the reduced layers of communication, only then we can achieve our objectives.

Stop boring them, activate them and start inspiring them!

Try it! You will see how it works!

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