Meetings are an important part of any business, as they help employees get on the same page, update each other about important information and collaborate through ideas, thoughts and opinions on matters. However, holding a large meeting has always been tricky, which is why we are here to help you with some advice on how to maintain control and get the most out for your large virtual meetings.
Set an Agenda so Everyone Knows what to Expect
The best way to ensure that your attendees will be focused and ready to get involved in the upcoming discussion is by drafting and sending agendas, detailing everything that needs to be discussed as well as other important points. This way, your employees will be able to prepare beforehand, collect necessary documents and information and, ultimately, add value to the conversations.
If employees don’t know what to expect from a meeting, they firstly may be discouraged to focus since they won’t know how long it will go on for, and they secondly may not have everything they need at hand to share ideas or add value.
Keep Your Attendees Awake and Focused
Keeping the attention and focus of your attendees is a vital part of holding large meetings, as it ensures that your discussions are reaching their full effect, and that the people you are speaking to are actually listening. One such way is why often asking for the opinions of random members.
By simply involving people, as Fast Company agrees, you engage with them more and help them maintain a strong focus on the task at hand. Additionally, the fear of being questioned and not knowing the answer will also encourage others to pay attention, as it can be embarrassing to be called out in front of peers and not know the answer to a simple question.
However, remember that embarrassing your employees is not your primary intent, so if someone does look surprised or worried when you call them out, quickly switch to a different member and allow them to simply realize their mistake. This way, you don’t ever isolate any employees or make them feel inferior to their peers, but you still keep them on their toes – with their full attention on whoever is speaking.
Consider Utilizing a Digital “Talking Stick” for Discussions
When debating important matters or seeking the insights from highly valuable members of a tribe, Native Americans would always utilize a talking stick, which gave the holder rights to share their thoughts without interruption. In fact, this talking stick not only gave them rights, but also the responsibility to share opinions or ideas, ensuring that every valuable member of the tribe was heard before the debate was over.
In modern times, you can utilize a digital talking stick with modern enterprise video conferencing solutions so as to ensure each valuable member of your company gets their fair opportunity to express their thoughts, opinions or ideas. Therefore, as Business Researcher shared in an insightful recent article, for your large online meetings, consider utilizing a digital talking stick, which can be passed from person to person – ensuring that no ideas, thoughts or opinions are left out.
This way, you can maintain control while hearing from each person, and ultimately utilize your business’ collective intelligence to ideate the perfect solutions, which accommodate for every member of your organization and are not dictated by powerful or charismatic participants.
Enforce Manners and Don’t Show Favoritism
One of the easiest ways to lose control of a large discussion is by allowing everyone to talk at the same time. This not only creates confusion within the online discussion, but can discourage less charismatic people from trying to speak above the crowd – even if they have amazing ideas. So, before you even begin, clearly express how important basic conversation manners and etiquette is going to be. You may also want to explain precisely why you are enforcing such behavior, as it will help them understand the value of allowing others to talk while waiting for their turns.
Be sure to offer everyone a chance to speak as well, and don’t keep going back to the same few people for ideas or opinions. This way, people who may be intimidated to speak in front of so many other people will still get a chance to share, rather than being pushed aside or interrupted constantly by those who are more eager to share their thoughts.
When holding a large virtual meeting, it’s easy to lose control and miss out on value that various people may be able to offer. So remember this advice next time you want to get teams together to discuss important matters, so that you can enjoy efficient, effective meetings, regardless of how many people are attending.