May 8, 2023

How to Use Surveys to Make Meetings More Engaging

Meetings are the connective tissue of the business world. They keep us linked together and moving. Unfortunately, in recent years meetings have gotten a reputation as useless time sinks.

Keeping workers engaged and energized during meetings can give a much-needed boost to your company's culture and bottom line. Use real-time surveys, quizzes, and other information-gathering activities to transform your meetings from a cost center into a power center.

What Does Meeting Engagement Mean in the Workplace?

It's not enough to be physically present. Meaningful engagement in a meeting context entails mental engagement as well. This can take several different forms.

For example, a stand-up meeting might consist primarily of a quick check-in followed by a list of action items. Even though this type of meeting asks little from the audience in terms of active engagement, it's critical that they be fully engaged with what the speaker has to say.

More commonly, meetings should function as collaborative environments. This is especially true in weekly team meetings when you're dealing with smaller groups of people all working toward a common goal. Active engagements can take the form of ice-breaker questions before a meeting, a Q&A session after a presentation, an energizer activity during a meeting, crowdsourcing information for organizational purposes, or voting on ways to proceed for certain tasks.

Why is meeting engagement important?

Fostering a healthy culture of meeting engagement comes with several benefits for both workers and their bosses. That's because active engagement by all parties leads to deeper learning and more satisfying discussions. Employees who've sunk into passivity or apathy are less likely to feel motivated or productive.

However, when you make your employees feel valued, they become harder, more focused workers. Keeping your workers active and involved during your meetings does more than enhance communication, it saves you money.

A comprehensive survey on employee engagement by Gallup found sizeable correlations between employee engagement and key performance metrics. Highly engaged business units had 81% less absenteeism, 14% better productivity, and 43% less turnover compared to less engaged business units. These units also had 18% more sales, 10% better customer ratings, and were 23% more profitable.

Ideas and Activities for Meeting Engagement

There's no magic bullet when it comes to keeping your employees active and engaged during meetings. It's best to think of this not as a one-time thing, but rather as an ongoing process. You'll need to energize your participants throughout the meeting. To help you get your employees active and engaged, we've put together this helpful list of fun tricks, tactics, and activities.

Hold a Trivia Quiz

Creating a back-and-forth between yourself and your colleagues is a fantastic way to foster active engagement. Use a trivia quiz as a short warm-up activity at the start of your next meeting. This doesn't have to be related to your meeting's objective. Instead, consider asking fun questions about a cultural touchstone like the Super Bowl game.

VPOLL makes it easy to let your colleagues create custom answers or click through a simple multiple-choice menu. You can turn this into a team assignment or let everyone answer individually. For added motivation, VPOLL lets you display standings on a competition leaderboard. This keeps everyone focused.

It also lets you reward correct answers and refine your quiz functions to reward the first correct answer, for example. Additionally, you can use VPOLL's speed points feature to up the competition level.

Crowdsource Information

What better way to get the attention of your colleagues than to crowdsource information? It's a bizarre psychological phenomenon, but asking someone to do a favor for you can actually make them end up liking you more. When you ask someone for input, you're indirectly communicating that you value their opinion.

Bonus points if the question at hand impacts the people sitting at the table in a meaningful way. For example, you could ask your coworkers where they want to go for the team's next off-site meeting. VPOLL makes this easy by letting workers submit custom answers. For added fun, turn your responses into a word cloud. This simple graphic is a fun way to visualize most popular to least popular choices. 

Positive Vibes Only

So many ice breaker questions are designed to get us to open up about ourselves. Why not switch things up a little by asking your team members to say something nice about one of their coworkers? Use VPOLL to create polls on:

  • The most helpful person in the office
  • The coworker with the brightest smile
  • The funniest jokester in the workplace

The goal here is to let your workers complement each other in a safe and fun way. You could also open the floor to more specific feedback by using prompts and enabling your colleagues to submit short answers. Sample prompts include:

  • Share an instance when a coworker went above and beyond
  • Tell us about a time when a coworker cheered you up when you were feeling sad
  • What I most appreciate about my colleagues is

Sharing positive memories will do more than make your coworkers feel warm and fuzzy. It'll also nurture a deep sense of engagement that will last after the activity has concluded.

Workplace Events

Team-building activities are a fantastic way to build deep engagement. Get your staff involved in the planning stages of your company's workplace Olympics. Your coworkers will care so much more if they're able to vote on the games and activities. Schedule a break toward the midpoint of your meeting to lift lagging spirits and re-energize your colleagues.

VPOLL makes this simple. Create a list of possible activities and ask your meeting's participants to vote on them in a multiple-choice style quiz. You can also use simultaneous breakouts to let your workers brainstorm in small groups before you conduct your poll.

Employee of the Month

Traditionally, selecting the employee of the month is the responsibility of management. This can lead to accusations of favoritism and resentment from workers who feel unfairly passed up.

VPOLL lets you democratize the selection process. Use the anonymous voting function to let your workers choose the most deserving employee. To keep things interesting, offer a gift card as a reward for the winner.

Conduct a Question-and-Answer Session

This is a great way to start or end any meeting. Let participants submit questions about any burning topics/ideas they have through VPOLL. This might have something to do specifically with the meeting, but it could also relate to matters that impact the organization more generally. VPOLL collects submitted questions and displays them in large text right where everyone can see them.

Conducting your Q&A session at the beginning can help set the tone for your meeting. It'll give you a sense of what's on your audience's mind. Real-time reporting lets you expand on some of these answers as you move through your presentation.

By contrast, placing it at the end of your meeting gives the audience an opportunity to reflect on what they've just learned and clarify any points that they're still having trouble with.

For a more lighthearted touch, consider opening the floor to funny poll questions/ideas. You can use these to create a poll (quiz).

Create a Shareable Meeting Agenda

Set up a shareable agenda prior to the meeting. This doesn't have to be anything fancy. Simply creating a bullet-pointed agenda in a shareable Google Docs file can help hold you accountable. Long, meandering meetings often do more damage than good. Send out the meeting agenda before you get started and remind your audience at the start that it's okay to speak out if you veer off track.

Phones and Laptops Away

Unless you need to have your phone or laptop out to participate in a VPOLL activity, it's a good idea to ban both pieces of tech from your meetings. The temptation to check your email inbox or Slack channel is simply too great. Head off the inevitable protests by passing out detailed agendas at the start of the meeting.

Not only will this help with the last suggestion, but it will eliminate the need for participants to take detailed notes during the meeting itself. If they need to take something down, they can always scribble it in the margins. However, in the main, their attention should be on the speaker and the content of the meeting.

Goal Setting

Setting relevant and attainable goals is a cornerstone of any organization's long-term success. A lack of influence in the goal-setting process can lead to feelings of disengagement among your employees. Get your workers fired up by crowdsourcing objectives for ongoing and future projects as well as high-level goals that will impact the business at a more meaningful level.

Use VPOLL to solicit these suggestions in real time. VPOLL lets participants shoot off short answers which you can view directly on a projector screen. You can even take the most popular suggestions and turn them into a multiple-choice quiz for your meeting attendants to vote on.

At the end of the day, meetings are a two-way street. Audience engagement is every bit as important as the speaker's performance. Help your company build a track record of deep engagement with VPOLL. It doesn't matter if you're running all-hands weekly team meetings or town halls, our proprietary audience response software system was built with the intention of fostering successful audience collaboration.

VPOLL lets you create polls, surveys, and quizzes. Its fast delivery system allows for real-time conversations between the presenter and the audience. Tear down old barriers and create a culture of engagement with VPOLL.

Request your free demo today and learn how VPOLL can help you run your company's meetings.

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