Project Management

Facilitating Communication and Engagement in Large Video Conferences

Melbourne, Australia Chapter

Ariel's current focus is on facilitating global collaboration in biomedical research programs. She combines a very analytical mindset with an interest in exploring new avenues to achieve evolutionary change.

How many video conferences have you attended that ping-pong between everyone talking at once and awkward silence? What about the ones where you had useful insights but just ended up listening to the main speaker? As a meeting chair, how certain are you that your participants aren’t finding their email backlog more engrossing than your call? How many of these calls only impart information when there are decisions to be made and problems to solve?

These are common challenges on video conferences with more than five to 10 parties, and good facilitation can have a huge impact in these areas. Here are some approaches for running effective and inclusive video conferences where…

  • participants are talking to you and each other
  • many different people are sharing relevant ideas and expertise
  • participants feel socially connected
  • participants feel a sense of ownership and engagement
  • the meeting doesn’t feel too long
  • feedback is given and incorporated in real time

Good bones will pay off
A pre-determined chair and defined structure make a real difference with medium to large video conferences. Put some thought into preparing and communicating:

  • the agenda
  • aims/desired meeting outcomes
  • planned interaction opportunities for all participants
  • integrating inputs from different communication channels
  • frequently summarizing major outcomes, …

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"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure."

- Mark Twain