Whether they’re in-person or online, hosting and managing large meetings can pose a number of logistical problems. Normal virtual meeting nuisances—confusing invites, late starts, technical difficulties or noisy guests—become compounded by sheer numbers, leaving hosts struggling to wrangle their guest lists and conduct a productive meeting.
Luckily, there are a number of tools, best practices and choices that can make managing large meetings a breeze. Keep these three things in mind the next time you’re managing a large virtual meeting:
1. Keep Annoyances to a Minimum
A larger number of guests unfortunately brings with it more opportunities for bad meeting habits to annoy the rest of your attendees. While in a meeting of 5-10 people you might have one noisy, non-muted guest, when those numbers grow exponentially, suddenly those noises completely disrupt your entire experience.
Before heading into your meeting, familiarize yourself with common features like muting and even removing guests. You might even consider muting everyone as the default with a polite announcement that you’ll unmute when it’s time for interaction or Q&A.
Also, if your meeting has entry and exit sounds, consider disabling them for larger meetings; otherwise, your meeting content may be drowned out by an endless series of “dings.”
2. Facilitate Mobile Meeters
When hosting a large event like a webinar or webcast, it’s important to offer multiple ways to join both the audio and web portions of your meeting, particularly if you’re trying to drive attendance or leads. In the age of mobile meeters and BYOD, your meeting guests will have their own technology preferences and you want to cater to them.
You’re far more likely to get your attendance numbers up if your virtual meeting tool provides mobile access, allowing people to join from their smartphone or tablet through an app or their device’s web browser. In addition, allowing for alternate audio connections such as VoIP offers even more freedom to your guests to join however they see fit.
3. Straightforward Invitations and Entry
Large meetings means large groups. Large groups mean that you, as the host, are outnumbered, and can’t possibly troubleshoot each and every technical problem your guests encounter when trying to get into your meeting.
Ensure that your meeting invitations are straightforward, easy to understand and include all the necessary information that your attendees need, regardless of how they’re joining the meeting. Any dial-in numbers or passcodes should be front and center, and your meeting URL should appear both in the body of the invite and the “location” field (if applicable).
Your virtual meeting should offer easy one-touch or one-click entry via the desktop browser, email invite or mobile application, and audio connections should be automatic through VoIP or dial-out. Otherwise, your meeting may be doomed to start late, or not at all.
Managing large meetings doesn’t have to be intimidating. With the right planning, practices and tools, you can provide a seamless meeting experience for hundreds, even thousands of attendees.