5 Ways Zoom Chat Can Make Your Virtual Meetings Engaging

Written by Steve

We have all got zoom fatigue at one point in our lives. You log on to a zoom session, you have someone share their screen and then you sit back, on mute, maybe you have your camera on or off (doesn’t matter) and then you just get talked at for 20,30,40 + minutes, no fun at all. 

Have you ever noticed the chat box or the chat option during these zoom presentations and thought to yourself. Man o man, what would happen If I just typed a question in there, would the presenter even know it’s there.

Chances are if they are talking at you, the answer is no. But what a missed opportunity.

The Zoom chat, for me, would have to be the most UNDERRATED activity in a Zoom session. Most times, it’s not used at all, even though there are so many activities you can do with it. A lot of times, the person running the event will say something like, “i’ll check the chat at the end of the session during Q&A” or they will stop presenting, lose track of where they are at while they try and reply to chat messages at the same time as presenting.

All of these are wasted opportunities. 

The zoom chat is a place for engagement and interaction from the audience. Sometimes in sessions I have run or have been in, the chat has been better than the actual content of the session. Other times, the chat is a whole world of its own. Either way, when used well it’s weaponised engagement for your audience. 

So how should you use it?

Here are some simple tips and tricks you can use to harness the power of the Zoom 3rd dimension.

1. Use the chat as a poll or to ask the audience yes or no questions

Got something to ask the audience and want to see the visual impact of this. Simply ask.. “Alright folks which one would you prefer A or B? Put A or B in the chat to tell me your preference?”

“Are you all ok with the topic we just covered, put a “1” in the chat if that makes sense”

Maybe you want to give the audience the ability to choose what topic comes next in the presentation. “Which topic should we do next, Topic A, B or C, put your choice in the chat below and the most votes for a topic will go next. 

2. Use it to break the ice at the start of the session. 

This is where most will start and stop with the use of the zoom chat. But if this is all you do, good on you for giving it a crack. It can be as simple as, “Where in the world are y’all dialling in from today, put you town, state, country in the chat.”

You could ask any kind of icebreaker question here to get them warmed up and used to using the chat. 

3. Use it to find out what they are most looking forward to learning/hearing about

Why guess when you can simply ask the question. Getting your audience to tell you what they are most looking forward to learning/hearing about is a brilliant way to make sure you deliver and meet their expectations.

“Ok so in the chat I would love you to put down ONE thing you’re most looking forward to learning/hearing about.”

4. Use it to summarise and confirm learning of a section of your presentation

Wrapping up a particular section of your presentation can be blurry and challenging. Use the chat to do it. Ask the audience to reflect on what they took away from that part of the session and put it in the chat. This will double as great feedback for you too.

“Ok folks, before we move on to the next part of the session, I would love to know the 1 thing that you learned or that resonated with you, put it in the chat for me.”

Be sure to recognise and thank the contribution too. This will reinforce the chat behaviour and encourage them to continue to post more stuff. 

5. Use it for general Q&A along the way. 

This can be a bit of a trap if you try and multi task during your presentation, but it’s also important to try and address questions at regular intervals during the session.

I always have the chat window open and in a place I can see it. So I can keep track of it throughout the session while I am presenting. If I see something relevant pop up, I will weave it into the session and acknowledge it and thank the contributor for their contribution.

Another great way to do this is to have a zoom producer or a colleague in the session with you. While you’re presenting they can man the chat to make sure the questions get answered along the way, which takes a lot of pressure off you as the presenter. 

Moral of the story….

These are just a few of the ways you can harness the power of the 3rd dimension of Zoom, the chat! Not only does it show your audience you care, but it also allows them to participate in the session and feel like they have a voice. It’s up to you to create a positive and supportive chat environment by setting clear rules and expectations, encouraging and acknowledging participation and planning how you are going to use the chat during your sessions.

There are a bunch of tools you can use beyond the chat, but the chat is a great place to start. Nail the chat and watch your engagement and connection with your audience skyrocket. 

So, if you’re looking for zoom engagement ideas, you’ve possibly found the best one of them all. It’s a clear way to keep your participants engaged throughout the session.

If you want to chat about your digital events and how you can further enhance them, feel free to book a Digital Event Review here, or jump into our PIMP my ZOOM program.

Chat is where it’s at! 

Read More Articles:

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