Blog series “Helpful Tips for How to Moderate Your Online Meetings”

Part 3 – The How-To

Welcome back to the BusinessMind blog series on the moderation of online meetings. After we have already dealt with the preparation and the introduction, today we’ll be looking at the how-to, that is, the interaction with your participants, the structure and your time management. We will later finish this blog series with looking at the closing / transfer of knowledge.

Interaction = Activation

Most online tools already offer several helpful functions such as chat, Q & A, questionnaires etc. for interacting with your participants. We recommend that you use these at regular intervals during your online meetings in order to activate your participants and “keep them in line,” so to speak. If the meeting is boring and the camera is switched off, the temptation to do something else in the meantime is hard to resist. As you well know, we’re not quite as good at Multitasking as we once thought we were :).

If you need to, you can of course also go beyond the possibilities IN your tool and work with additional online collaboration tools e.g. miro, Concept Board or Mural (sometimes it may even be necessary, because the tool you’re using won’t provide all the functions you need.) Your imagination is set no limits in this respect.

Whatever the case, remember: it’s all about the right method mix. Not too much, not too little.

And never forget the golden rule: the methods follow the goals and not the other way around!

Therefore, choose a method that helps you achieve your goals. And not just methods that you find the easiest – or funniest – to apply!

Another thing about interaction: if you allow requests to speak, we recommend the raise hand function. Because in online meetings with more than 4 participants it can already get quite chaotic if several people start talking at the same time. Most online tools already offer this possibility. As a moderator you check for raised hands in the participants’ panels and give that person “permission to speak.”

Stick to the topic in your online meeting

Now to the structure: don’t forget to stick to your red thread.

Make sure that you stay in your neutral moderator role, lead, guide the meeting, but don’t get bogged down in detailed discussions.

A good structure is all the more important online, to give your participants orientation. Part of this can be, e.g., inserting slides with the agenda in between your presentation again and again, showing which point on the agenda you’re currently working on (you can also use these in-between-slides as a link to an activation activity: for example, whenever the slide pops up, it’s time for your participants to stand up and stretch.)

You could also provide the agenda via other online tools like Trello or Padlet, to include other tools instead of the rather classical power point slide.

An agenda provided by Padlet

And finally, time management: strict time management is almost more important online than onsite. Best make it clear right from the start that you will be observing strict time management, for everybody’s sake. Nobody wants to be hanging out in a video call longer than is really necessary.

Time for a break, children!

Which brings us to the most important tip: give yourself and your participants a break. In online meetings, at least every 60 minutes. Integrate activation exercises here and there. Even if you only remind your participants to stretch / move around a bit every now and then (as mentioned in the tip above.) You can tie this in with certain pictures in your presentation, the activity will imprint itself better on your participants’ minds.

Remember the Mr. & Mrs. Right story in the last blog article? This is also a good activation exercise.

Another possibility: the wheel of fortune. Here, for example, you can incorporate various activities such as stretching, touching toes, playing air guitar, etc. – you share your screen, spin the wheel of fortune and off you go!

Even simpler, try the following activation exercise: show your participants how to disappear from the screen to the left, to the right, or completely vanish. And suddenly, without any effort at all, and hardly any time wasted, everyone has moved their bodies a bit!! (a creative variation: disappear from the screen UPWARDS. Who dares? 🙂 )

Come back in 2 weeks when we’ll be giving you tips for closing your online meeting and assuring transfer.

Best wishes, Birgit & Nicole & Ben

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