How To Run Engaging Online Meetings (11 Promises)

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One of our partners recently said to me,

“Wow, that meeting was both relational and highly productive. I can’t believe we did all that in an hour!”

I breathed a sigh of relief.

With so much work being conducted online, it’s easy for meetings to feel unproductive and draining.

Chances are you’ve felt this, too.

In response to the survey we sent last newsletter, some of you said it’s been challenging to engage people online.


For me, the issue is this: when running in-person trainings, I am super ready to find creative means to keep people engaged. 

But when it comes to online trainings or meetings, it’s all-too-easy to sink back into the same old banking-style format.

So here are some things I try to hold myself to that help ensure purposeful and engaging meetings, written in the style of 11 Promises From A Manager that’s been circulating on the Internet lately (worth checking out if you work with other human beings).

11 Promises From A Meeting Facilitator (Online)

  1. If I am asking you to be a part of a meeting, it’s because it has a clear and direct stake in your life and work.
  2. I will always share an agenda with you before our meeting and the agenda will not be vague bullet points, but a guide for dialogue including questions and relevant information.
  3. During each meeting I will invite you to participate in either generating ideas, gathering feedback, or reaching a decision.
  4. I will vary the modality within the meeting, allowing for small group work and –when possible– involving other creative means in ways that help us accomplish our goals.
  5. If you are seeing information for the first time (even if it was included in the email prior) you will be given time to digest it before I ask you to respond.
  6. I will never use a meeting to deliver information (or ask you to deliver information) without asking for ideas, feedback, or posing questions to the group.
  7. If the meeting is longer than 90 minutes, I will always recommend a break after 50 minutes (or so).
  8. I will make sure we always have notes from our meetings and that they are shared with meeting participants afterward.
  9. We will end each meeting with clear action steps including a name and date for each task.
  10. I will always follow up in the next meeting about specific action items (to do otherwise is to signal that it was never all that important anyway).
  11. I will always respond to your suggestions for improvement with, “thank you” rather than respond defensively, and, when possible, I will try to incorporate your feedback for the next meeting.

Thanks again for your response to our survey. If there are other challenges you experience and you are looking for some resources, please let us know by filling it out here.

If you are looking for even more tools to engage people online check out our last blog post: 3 Activities to Boost Engagement During Online Trainings.

And if you found this helpful, go ahead and share with a fellow facilitator who you want to succeed in their work for social change.

Until next time,


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Riahl Hey, folks! Thank you so much for joining us. My name is Riahl O’Malley. I use he/him pronouns. I’m with Learning to Transform, and

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