Build Your Meetings Like a Talk Show. Seriously.

Sounds counter-intuitive but try it and you’ll be surprised!

wide shot of television talk show. TV camera and stage lights visible as well as hosts on set.

If virtual meeting fatigue is really and truly a thing, we can lighten it up, can’t we?

1. Create the buzz about your meeting

  • The subject line can give enough info to be clear, and add a kicker.
  • The description space can elaborate without giving everything away.
  • Can you add a visual? I moderate and build lots of learning sessions these days. They each have their own branding. Really! I use Canva Pro (I would put my affiliate link here but I’m way behind on setting it up, so if you’re interested send me a private note) templates to build what I think are eye-catching and unique identifiers.
meeting table with only participants’ hands and digital devices visible, speech bubble in the middle of the frame with info
  • Pop your meeting ‘poster’ there, or some of the teaser copy from the meeting invitation, with the meeting info visible. The catch, as I experience it, is that jpg will be visible as an attachment but can’t support hyerlinks. PDF will have the clickable link, however, the attachment has to be opened. Every extra click someone has to make counts!
  • The day before, I edit the invitation subject line by adding REMINDER at the start and selecting Update and Send. All invitees will get the update.
  • About an hour before, I go into a common messaging space and give a gentle note there. The default 30 minute notification will follow from the original meeting invite.
Hourglass on laptop keyboard

2. Set the meeting invitation for 5 or 10 minutes before the real start

  • It creates the pre-meeting chat room for colleagues to check in without eating into the real meeting time.
  • So when the meeting starts, folks are settled in and ready to go.
  • And if this takes hold, you might reduce late arrivals who can often upset the flow of the meeting.

3. Kick off the meeting like a talk show opening

  • This is the transition from the warm up to the meeting. You’re shifting focus.
  • Welcome everyone again, and shift the meeting into order. Recall any of the teaser info you used in the meeting lead-up to create more energy.
  • Hand it over to the meeting chair, or the first item’s speakers if you are the chair.

4. Assign a Production Team to keep on top of timing and tech

  • The time keeper watches the clock and the pace of the agenda. Is an item taking longer than planned? The time keeper politely addresses this so the chair can take an action to steer things back on time.
  • The tech manager makes sure that the online meeting space is working fine, watches the chat, keeps an eye and ear out for attendees’ tech issues, keeping the chair free to focus on the agenda and discussion.
tv control room

5. Include the audience (attendees)

  • You’ll keep the meeting energy up by making sure the agenda varies in speakers, not just the chair.
  • Give space for attendees who aren’t speaking to an agenda item or are usually shy to at least be recognized in the meeting.
  • Even better, invite their input without putting them on the spot.
  • Give a pause to let a speaker unmute when you’ve directed the discussion to them, or they have a comment to add to the current dialogue.
  • Determine how to best allow dialogue flow without stepping on each other’s voices.

6. Wrap up and pitch ahead

  • Set the agenda or discussion to conclude 2 minutes before the real meeting end.
  • Even though you engage with your colleagues regularly, as the meeting concludes, take that time to say thank you and see you again soon.
  • Attendees, this includes you!
  • Is there another meeting worthy of mentioning? You can kick off the build up for that meeting the same way you did for this one!

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