Large townhall events with tools like BlueJeans provide multiple benefits when it comes to facilitating cheap and easy events for networking, training and socializing. They make meetings, large and small, a more even playing field that make all employees feel equal and have a chance to voice their opinions. The trouble is, large events have such a massive participation and only a certain amount of time for exchanging ideas. Plus, it can feel incredibly intimidating. It can be hard in these situations to get your own voice heard, particularly if you are shyer or socially anxious. By using these tips, you can express your ideas even in large meetings and get over your fears of online group conferences.
- Get to Know Others
Your Office Coach says that one of the best ways to connect with remote colleagues is to get to know them outside of work through their social media pages. Doing this without coming across as forceful or desperate will help you to forge bonds with the people you will be attending the event with and put you on their radar. If you do this with the moderators or people who will be speaking, you are more likely to be recognized by them and asked to make a contribution at some point during the conference. If you demonstrate your knowledge and reliability to them and impress them, you may even be asked to be a speaker at a future event.
- Wait Your Turn
It may be tempting to interrupt another speaker to get your point or counter argument across, but Nerds On Site says that this is incredibly rude in a video conference. It is also annoying to others to dominate an entire conversation and ramble on for too long, boring others and preventing them from sharing their own thoughts. Instead, follow the meeting’s specific rules for sharing opinions, whether it is to make arguments at the end, use the ‘hands up’ feature, or simply waiting until it is your turn to speak. Rudely speaking over others will have the opposite effect of getting your opinion out in the open and make you come across as overly forceful. Others will be less likely to take your opinion seriously and won’t want to work with you again in the future. Manners do pay off and will make a much better impression, even if you have to be patient and wait until it is your turn to speak or sit through and listen through somebody else’s rambling speech.
- Outside Contributions
If you aren’t able to say anything during the conference itself, you can still make a contribution and say something about it in other ways. You could post about the conference or the speakers on social media, perhaps during the event itself, and tag the speakers. Or you could write up a response or blog post afterwards saying what you thought and anything you could add. This could easily get somebody’s attention and inspire a talking point at the next conference.
Remember that no matter how many of you are on the call, it is still a conversation between all of you, not a school lecture. As well as expressing your own thoughts, listen to and respond to others to show that you are interesting and keep the conversation flowing. If somebody else has been interrupted, ask them to continue what they were saying. If you can back up or build upon somebody else’s point, do so. You may have a rare opportunity to have a conversation with a special guest speaker or somebody high up in your company or industry and can demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm to them. If you are nervous, once you get into the flow of conversation, you will find it no different from conversing with your colleagues on a daily basis.
- Take Advantage of Q & A
Most conferences or training sessions will include a question and answer session at the end, which you can take advantage of. Just as you would prepare several questions to ask at the end of a job interview, think of several you would like to ask at the conference and use the virtual ‘hands up’ feature to ask them. If there are a lot of attendants, you aren’t guaranteed to have your question picked every time. But when it does, you can demonstrate your interest in the guest speaker, your engagement with the discussion, and prompt an interesting discussion point.
Getting your voice heard during a large conference or event is always scary and not that easy. If you have confidence in yourself and your opinions, you will be able to speak up at the appropriate moment, share your ideas, and establish yourself as knowledgeable in your individual field. You never know how much speaking up during a conference could help your career or catch the attention of somebody important.