The Slice

25 Tips for Setting Up and Hosting a Large Remote Meeting

February 24, 2023

Setting up and hosting a large virtual meeting takes some extra planning compared to a simple team meeting due to tech issues, employee engagement concerns, and more. Luckily for you, we've compiled a list of twenty-five tips you can use to ensure your next big remote meeting is a huge success!

Large remote meetings are a crucial communication method for larger companies with employees logging on from different cities, countries, and time zones.

Setting up and hosting a large virtual meeting takes some extra planning compared to a simple team meeting due to tech issues, employee engagement concerns, and more.

Luckily for you, we've compiled a list of twenty-five tips you can use to ensure your next big remote meeting is a huge success!

1. Know Your Goals

When you first decide that you're going to be putting together a large remote meeting, one of the first things you'll want to do is sit down and identify what your goals are. Having well-defined goals can make the entire event go much more smoothly and lead to an overall more effective event.

There will be many decisions to make about how you will structure the meeting, many of which will be easier to make once the goals have been outlined.

For example, making a list of your goals will help you examine the right communication method for the information you're sharing. If it was going to be mostly a one-way conversation with you presenting data and analysis from the last quarter, you might find that it's actually more efficient to send a recorded video.

When the purpose of your meeting is best served by a back-and-forth conversation with a large group of people, you'll want to be considerate of what features you'll need from a video conferencing platform. For example, you might want to make sure that attendees can ask questions in the chat so that their concerns can be addressed and the flow of the meeting isn't constantly disrupted.

2. Make Sure You Have All the Tools You Need

There are a lot of moving parts when you're hosting a large remote meeting, so doing the research to find the right tools is something that's going to take some time.

For example, you might assume that Zoom is the best video conference platform because it's what you typically use for smaller meetings. However, digging around might identify that one of the popular alternatives is better.

3. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

It might sound obvious, but large meetings are something that you'll want to schedule in quite a bit of time to prepare for.

This isn't something you'll want to throw together in an afternoon– the more time you give yourself upfront to create an agenda, practice any speaking role you might play, and test out the tech will be much appreciated when the big day finally comes.

4. Take the Time to Get the Setup Right

Setting up and hosting a large remote meeting is a different animal than having a quick Skype chat with a relative. While it is truly amazing that we have the ability to host video conferences with attendees from around the world, that doesn't mean that the technology can't cause some headaches along the way.

If you are going to be hosting a large-scale meeting, it's important to determine whether there is an infrastructure in place at your company to support the technological needs. You can talk to your company's IT team about what video platform would be preferred to ensure that the video and audio stay crystal clear.

Do you want to record your meeting to have a recording or so other people can watch it later? Check out this guide about three different ways you can record a Zoom meeting with audio.

5. Avoid Information Overload

When you're talking to a big group of people, trying and cramming in as much information as possible can be tempting. There's a limit, though, to how much info people can take in in one sitting. In reality, it can get completely overwhelming and have the opposite of the desired effect.

Rather than really getting into the details using department-specific jargon, share some of the highlights you want everyone to know about.

6. Do As Many Dry Runs As It Takes

A live meeting can be a nerve-wracking endeavor. No matter how much you prepare, it can still feel like the actual event simply flies by.

To help reduce your stress and ensure success, do as many dry runs as you need before the big day.

7. Appoint a Meeting Facilitator

A meeting facilitator can help to moderate discussions, drive conversations among attendees, and invite people to add their two cents to the conversation.

This is an essential role for large meetings that shouldn't be overlooked.

8. Allow Ways to Interact That Don't Disrupt the Flow

It's important to help participants engage during the meeting, but a large meeting simply can't withstand people chiming in every time they have a question or a comment.

Otherwise, the flow of the meeting will get totally messed up. Instead, make sure that attendees have a way of interacting (chat, for example) that lets them participate without interrupting. 

9. Show Up Early

Even if you've practiced and gone through your tech setup a million times, it's still a good idea to attend your big meeting early.

You've been preparing for this long, and you want to make sure everything goes right. Giving yourself a few extra minutes in the beginning can help you catch any last-minute issues with the tech and settle in before the event begins. 

10. Do a Tech Check Right at the Start

You'll want to test out all of your tech before the day of the meeting, but it's also important to do a tech check right when you begin. If there do appear to be any issues with the video or audio, the last thing you want is to get twenty minutes into the meeting to discover that half of the participants can't hear what you're saying.

Start your meeting with a tech check, and you'll find that you can resolve any problems and move toward the matter at hand much more efficiently and with less stress.

11. Mute Everyone Except the Speaker

Though this might seem harsh at first, you'll want to make sure that everyone except the speaker is muted during your meeting unless you are deliberately having a discussion session.

When you're dealing with a lot of participants, there is going to be a lot of unwanted and distracting background sound, no matter how hard everyone tries to find a quiet place to attend.

12. Assign Topic Owners

Depending on the structure of your meeting, this can be a great way to ensure that everyone gets the chance to talk about the topics that are most important to them.

13. Gather Topic Suggestions Ahead of Time

An essential step for ensuring that people are engaged during your meeting actually happens before the meeting ever starts. Ask your participants what topics they'd like to discuss during the meeting to get a sense of what is most important to everyone attending.

This helps people know that they have a hand in organizing and planning the meeting and ensures that you are touching upon the issues that are at the front of your attendees' minds.

14. Send Out the Agenda Ahead of Time

One of the best things you can do to ensure that you have a successful large remote meeting is to send the agenda out to all the participants ahead of time.

This gives everyone a framework through which they can view the meeting and lets them know when the topics that particularly interest them will be touched upon.

15. Assign a Chat Monitor

When you're dealing with many attendees, there's a good chance that a question will pop up in the chat that needs to be addressed. The speakers and host shouldn't be expected to keep an eye on the chat– they have enough going on.

Assigning a chat monitor ensures that someone is always watching the chat and can bring questions or comments to the attention of the host and speakers when necessary.

16. Build in Breaks

You'll want to make sure that regular and frequent breaks are a part of your large-scale meetings. When you're dealing with a bunch of people in one virtual space, it can take additional time for everyone to get settled in.

To ensure that everyone stays engaged and doesn't get left behind, ensure breaks are built-in to the schedule and extra time is allotted for getting the meeting back up again.

17. Stay on Schedule

Another thing you'll want to avoid when running a large remote meeting is running overtime. It's important to show that you respect all of your attendees' time by starting and ending the meeting on time.

No matter how well-planned your meeting is, it can come off as poorly planned when all of the content doesn't fit into the allotted time slot. You'll want to add a bit of extra time if you are hosting a large, long meeting that includes breaks. With more people, everything tends to take a little longer.

18. Get Them Engaged

A large remote meeting is a perfect place for leadership team members to engage with their workers. They can do Q&As, polls, surveys, and more to help create an interactive experience for all attendees.

Getting participants engaged during meetings can feel like a big challenge, but by making it interactive, breaking the ice, including breaks, and sending the agenda ahead of time, you'll find that everyone seems much more eager to contribute.

19. Use Virtual Hand Raising for Longer Questions and Chat For Shorter Questions

When a person has a simple question about a slide or the current topic, they can enter it into the chat. The chat monitor can then bring this to the attention of the speaker in a way that doesn't interrupt the overall flow or change the topic.

For longer, more complex questions, though, it can be nice to give people a virtual way to raise their hands. People can make their intention to ask a question clear in the chat using a pre-selected word, and the chat monitor can keep a list of the people that have questions to ask. Then, during a predetermined portion of the meeting, the speaker can answer these questions one by one.

20. Build in Some Time For Fun

We know you've got important items on your agenda, but that doesn't mean you can't include some fun activities and take advantage of this team-building activity. Allowing some socializing time can help reduce awkwardness in video meetings, and activities like icebreakers and energizers can provide a much-needed break and energy boost.

Speaking of which, if you really want to take your large meeting to the next level, you might include some exciting entertainment, such as a live DJ or stand-up comedian. For longer meetings, consider giving everyone the gift of sustenance and sending over some pizza to truly create a spirit of togetherness.

21. Use Breakout Rooms

Large remote meetings can be a really exciting event, but it's also nice to take the opportunity to break up into smaller groups and have discussions.

This is a wonderful opportunity for teams to share their thoughts on various topics with their team leaders, who can then send the feedback up the ladder.

22. Think About Incorporating the Company Culture

Are there opportunities to include some of the best parts of your company culture in your large remote meeting?

Whether it means choosing a branded backdrop or incorporating your team motto, don't forget to sprinkle in some of the things that help make your organization great.

23. Go the Extra Mile When It Comes to Inclusivity

When you're putting on a large remote meeting, you'll want to consider whether there are any participants who might have difficulty following along with the standard format.

For example, you might consider having a voice-to-text system for hearing-impaired employees.

24. Continue the Conversation

A lot of productive ideas can come out of a large remote meeting, and it's important to follow up on them and keep the conversation going after the fact.

After the meeting, make sure to continue reiterating important messages you want to drive home and offering opportunities for employees to add their voices to the conversation.

25. Track Your Success

Congratulations– your virtual meeting was a huge success! Though this is certainly time to celebrate, your hard work isn't over just yet.

Take the time to send out follow-up surveys to attendees and otherwise track the success of your meeting so you can replicate or even improve upon your large-scale meeting in the future.

Pro Tip: Never Leave the People Hungry

If you really want to ensure that all of your attendees are on the edge of their seats during your large remote meeting, you'll probably want to ensure they aren't distracted by the sound of their stomachs rumbling.

If you're ready to host the best big meeting your company has ever seen, consider sending hot, fresh, delicious pizza to all of your attendees.

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