There are major benefits to online meetings. Reduced costs and no travel hassles are two, in addition to public health caution. In 2020, out of necessity, Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe, Atlassian, and other enormous companies moved major events online. Even legal requirements for corporate and non-profit boards eased to drop the mandatory in-person gatherings expected for certain types of meetings. The already-existing trend toward online interaction was pushed into high gear by the pandemic, and it seems this trend is going forward with us.
Where does that leave business leaders who hope for dynamic gatherings of staff, visiting experts, and clients? Gatherings that raise energy and drive progress? Maybe just plugging into a conferencing platform with everyone else is not going to be enough as time goes on. Because there are also the negative aspects we are all familiar with: imperfect sound and audio, reduced connection among participants, and other limitations that vary with the meeting’s goals.
While it may seem you should be able to simply manage this transition yourself, as with so many issues that involve technology, expert assistance can be the most efficient choice. Professional moderators who are focused squarely on optimizing the medium can remove headaches from your online meetings and help re-integrate elements that online conferencing can squelch: vitality, great connections among participants, communication clarity, and even fun.
One direction to reach out for this help might be your Language Service Provider. First and foremost, LSPs are communication experts, experienced at handling:
- unexpected elements, both technical and human
- communication gaps that must be bridged with grace
- a variety of accents, dialects, and languages
- ever-changing technology
Having a professional moderator handle the technology, chat room discussions, message boards, and translation (for multilingual events), makes a lot of sense. Moderators can even assist with the discussion itself, ensuring that the agenda is followed, a schedule with breaks is maintained, and participants are all heard. An impartial moderator can also more easily explain and enforce online etiquette – they can be the ones who request that everyone check their equipment, be gracious, and ensure there won’t be elements from their home life that disrupt the meeting. When it comes time to close the meeting, your moderator can take responsibility for distributing meeting summaries and follow-up media to participants.
And what about hosting meetings that are more fun? Innovation that features high quality multi-media elements and group bonding exercises can greatly increase everyone’s enjoyment of the online time together. This is also an element you your moderator can lead. Your focus can remain on the core goals of the meeting, while professional moderators focus intently on every other detail.
If this age of online conferences, classes, negotiations, and training is only just beginning, we’re better off embracing it. As you try to figure out how to maximize the benefits, you’re not alone. In this rapidly evolving field there are professional moderator services run by communication experts like LSPs, and they’re ready to help you keep moving into the future.
J. V. McShulskis