12 Tips On How To Moderate A Meeting Online
With the increase in virtual meetings, many people are now having to learn how to moderate these online conversations. The challenge then is learning what techniques and tools can be used in order to keep a meeting productive and on track.
Additionally, Moderation techniques - such as facilitating open dialogue or tracking participant engagement feedback - can help ensure that every voice is heard during the discussion by promoting meaningful exchanges between participants. In this blog post, we'll share our best tips on moderating a meeting remotely so that you can get the most out of your group's sessions!
1. Define the purpose of the meeting and what you hope to achieve
It is important to identify the purpose of the meeting before you start moderating. Ask yourself questions like, “What goals do I want to achieve by having this meeting?” or “How can we make sure that everyone gets what they need from this meeting?” Defining the purpose and desired outcomes allows you to plan the agenda and create an efficient meeting.
This also ensures that all participants understand the expectations of the meeting before it starts. It will also help you make decisions about how long to keep people on task, when to take breaks, etc. Determine what discussions are necessary for achieving your goals and come up with questions or topics to initiate conversations related to these topics. Once you have a plan, communicate it to all meeting participants in advance so that everyone is on the same page when the time for the meeting comes.
2. Assign someone to be the moderator and keep track of the time
It is important to assign a moderator for a meeting because they can help ensure that the discussion stays on track and productive. The moderator should be an impartial figure who will make sure that everyone is heard, respected and given equal opportunity to participate in the conversation. They should also monitor any conflicts or disagreements between participants, redirecting the conversation back to the topic at hand.
Another important aspect of being a good moderator is to make sure other participants are able to engage in the conversation. It's important to provide other participants with the opportunity to ask questions or add their input, so ask for other peoples' opinions and listen carefully. Make sure everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts, and thank people for contributing.
Having a moderator can also help you to maintain order, set speaking time limits and keep track of who has spoken and how much time they have left.
3. Send out an agenda prior to the meeting so everyone is aware of the topics that will be discussed
Send out the agenda prior to the meeting. This will ensure everyone is aware of the topics that will be discussed during the meeting and can prepare accordingly. It's especially important when leading an online meeting, as it gives you a way to keep everyone on track and prevents conversations from veering off-topic. The agenda should include and not be limited to
- Introduction of panelists and attendees
- Objectives for the meeting
- Any relevant materials that will be discussed
- Questions or discussion topics for attendees to prepare in advance
- Timeline of how long each topic should take
Once the agenda is sent, prepare for the meeting by doing any necessary research and brushing up on relevant materials. Also, make sure to check in with the other panelists and attendees to make sure they've received the agenda and are prepared for the meeting. This will help ensure that everyone is able to participate and contribute.
4. If possible, try to have everyone turn on their cameras
This helps to create a sense of presence and connection during virtual meetings. It can also help people stay more engaged and focused on the meeting, since seeing each other’s faces helps to create a sense of accountability.
However, it’s important to remember that not everyone may feel comfortable turning on their camera or sharing their home environment. If this is the case, it’s best to respect that and allow people to participate without their videos on.
5. Make sure all participants are muted unless they're speaking
Unless absolutely necessary, all participants should be muted during an online meeting. This helps to keep distractions like background noise to a minimum, allowing everyone to focus on the main discussion. Additionally, participants can only be unmuted when they are ready to speak in order to avoid having multiple people talking at once.
6. Include keeping an eye on chat participants and make sure they're following the discussion
Having a close eye on chat participants is essential for effective online meetings. Ensure that all of the participants are taking part and contributing to the discussion by asking questions or providing feedback. It's also important to make sure they're not multitasking while in the virtual meeting--this could be distracting both to them and other attendees.
7. Encourage everyone to participate and share their ideas
It is important that all participants are given a chance to contribute and be heard during virtual meetings. Encourage everyone to participate by asking for their opinions or ideas. Make sure to acknowledge each contribution as it helps build confidence and encourages people to speak up more in future discussions.
Remember, keeping the participants engaged without being dominated by others is important. Moderating meetings also means that the meeting facilitator needs to be prepared with a plan in case the meeting turns into an argument or if someone is not following the rules.
If necessary, you can interrupt by summarizing key points and making sure everyone is on the same page. When participants are finished speaking, acknowledge them with a positive comment or encouragement and then move on to the other speakers.
8. Make sure everyone can see and hear each other clearly
A clear picture and sound are essential for a successful meeting. Make sure all participants have their cameras on so they can see each other. Also, use headsets with microphones to ensure that everyone’s audio will be heard without interference from background noise or echoing. Adjust the volume settings to a comfortable level and set up a "mute all" button so that no one interrupts while others are speaking.
9. Keep meetings on track by enforcing time limits
Time limits can help to keep meetings on track and ensure that topics are adequately discussed without going off-topic or taking up too much time. When setting a meeting agenda, set a suggested duration for each topic so that everyone is aware of the timeline. During the meeting, it's important for the moderator to keep an eye on the time and ensure that the right questions are asked to get to the right context quickly.
If a certain topic is taking up more time than expected, then it's important for the moderator to redirect the discussion and set boundaries so that all topics can be discussed within their allotted time frame. Doing this will help ensure that everyone's voice is heard and that no one topic is given too much attention.
10. Make sure everyone in the meeting understands how to use the tools
It is important to engage everyone in the conversation and ensure that everyone has access to the same resources. Taking time at the beginning of a meeting to explain how people can use audio, chat, or video tools can be invaluable in making sure everyone understands how to engage.
11. Use a clear and concise voice, and speak slowly enough for everyone to hear
When moderating a meeting online, it is important to speak clearly and concisely. Speak slowly enough for each person in the meeting to hear what you are saying. Use concrete language that everyone can understand, as well as adjust your tone and volume depending on who is speaking. It's helpful to turn on any video or audio settings available so that everyone can have a clear understanding of what is being said.
12. If someone is disruptive or off-topic, politely ask them to stop or redirect the conversation
If someone is being disruptive or going off-topic, it's important to politely remind them that the meeting has a specific purpose. Explain that their comments are not relevant to the discussion at hand and ask them to stop. If they continue to be disruptive, consider asking them to leave the meeting or mute their microphone so they can't interrupt any further.
It's essential to enforce the audience's rules in a polite yet firm way. Setting expectations from the start, it will make moderating the meeting much easier as everyone will understand what's expected of them. This helps ensure that the audience remains polite and respectful, allowing for a successful meeting.
As a meeting moderator, keeping the discussion focused and on track is important. Have your own personal style in organizing your meeting which should combine with good moderation skills and emotional intelligence.
Use Eric.ai and its plethora of features for a more productive online meeting
Eric.ai is a powerful tool for moderating online meetings and events. It offers a range of features to help you make the most out of your virtual gathering, from setting agendas to capturing audio for transcriptions, this tool will help you to make sure that everyone's voice is heard during the meeting.
By using Eric.ai's moderation tools, you can quickly and easily create an effective agenda that will keep your meeting on track and help ensure that everyone is able to participate. You can also set reminders for yourself and other participants when it's time to move on to the next topic or suggest breaks between activities.