How many virtual meetings have you been to this week? How many of them do you recall? This article focuses in on the important topic of retention, or memorability, of virtual calls.

It is likely that the call you are hosting today is one of many virtual sessions people are dropping into. What are you going to do to make it memorable?

Suzuki wrote, “We make things memorable when things are novel, surprizing, emotional and attention grabbing”.

What are the things you can be doing to create a more memorable virtual conversation?

With back to back virtual calls becoming the norm for many these days, what’s going to signal a more memorable, or stickier, conversation?

Consider these approaches when making your calls “sticker” and more memorable:
Jazz it up – Pace change is critical to keeping people engaged. What graphics, images or metaphors can communicate your message?

Our brains process images differently than text. How can you break up solid text with a different presentation? Consider converting dense bullet points to video, or have people review a TED Talk before the conversations. Always be sure to confirm usage rights, and when in doubt, reach out!

Provide an opportunity for people to talk about their experiences in smaller groups. Check out if breakouts are an option in your platform. If so, could you build in a 5-10 minute section where people share how the topic connects to them and what they can do.

Prime people for the fact that the call is going to be different than usual. Let attendees know what you can expect and what the roadmap of your call will be.

People remember the start and end of things. Capturing their attention from the start is key. Consider starting off your call differently – perhaps with something more personally involved than others. Note that as people are coming onto a call it may take them a few minutes to get grounded.

We may be unfocused based on what we are experiencing “outside the screen”. A valuable starting question to meetings can be “what’s your connection to this topic?” or an invitation to “share with us your recent experience about this topic”.

Look at more than just the start of the call. What additional follow up can people engage with? Consider both what people might do before the call (pre-work), as well as post-work.

Ebbinghaus did research on what we retain and what we remember. His concept of the forgetting curve found that as time progresses, as days progressed, we remember even less. So, how can we boost that? There are several things that he found really made a difference to memorabilty. The meaningfulness of the information – or how important it is to me. The way it’s represented  text, images, or graphs, as well as some of the learner’s physiological factors including stress and sleep.

The time we spend together in the virtual space is often limited but it critical for individual and team performance. What can you do to in your next virtual meeting to make it more memorable?

During the next meeting you lead, consider using some of these technique to see how it boosts retention. What do you want to incorporate to move your ordinary call to an extraordinary one?

Adapted from an earlier Teams365 blog post #2149: