The second stage in our model for effective meetings is Commencing a Meeting. The discussion groups on Commencing a Meeting comprise a number of topics, starting with arrival and registration covering those all-important first impressions, followed by agendas and then introductions. [read more]
Meeting in a public space
- 30 June 2023 at 11:29 am #343
Meetings in a public space come with a whole set of considerations. What are your takes on it? What has worked for you?1 July 2023 at 11:28 pm #749Ron EagleParticipant
Public spaces are not usually ideal for professional meetings as there are issues of logistics ( do you have guaranteed space, seating, accessibility etc) , interruptions ( if its public you cant control who comes and goes around/into your meeting space) and of course security ( eavesdropping, public Wi-Fi networks etc.)
Unless its a social event then public spaces (inside or outside) would not be recommended. However if it is unavoidable then bear in mind the above caveats and take whatever measures you can to at least ameliorate them.6 July 2023 at 11:31 am #762
Thanks for this, Ron
One of the things I have noticed with public meetings is that the level of distraction / diversion of attention seems to increase exponentially with the size of the space and number of people present. Also that the dynamic of the group is effected by the number of people present – opportunities for any form of discussion between participants seem much more difficult at public meetings and the need for very careful facilitation increases. Wondering if you have found this about the larger meetings you have led?7 July 2023 at 11:24 pm #7157Ron EagleParticipant
The context of the meeting and make up of the attendees will mak all the difference. An open invitation gathering of people with divergent motivations will be far more challenging to facilitate cogent interactive discussions in a large open space than in a meeting with largely homologous minded attendees. In greatest contrast, imagine the difference between a very animated set of exchanges at a large Hyde Park Corner gathering of temporarily captured passers by around an emotive speaker compared to the unified hum of devotees at a political party rally or evangelistic religious gathering. So the level of commonality in motivation for attendance will affect the level of difficulty in managing the communication in large spaces.8 July 2023 at 3:09 pm #15916
Ron, you bring up an excellent point about the impact of the meeting’s context and attendee composition on the dynamics of large public meetings. It’s fascinating how the motivation for attendance can shape the level of difficulty in managing communication in such spaces.
Indeed, in gatherings with diverse motivations, where attendees come from various backgrounds and perspectives, it can be a Herculean task to facilitate coherent discussions. The spectrum of opinions and interests can lead to a cacophony of voices, making it challenging to channel the conversation effectively.
On the other hand, when attendees share a common purpose and mindset, the atmosphere can be far more conducive to meaningful exchanges. It’s almost like comparing the lively debates at a Hyde Park Corner gathering, where passersby have different motivations and opinions, to the unified and focused energy of a political party rally or an evangelistic religious gathering.
So, when planning a meeting in a public space, understanding the motivations of your attendees becomes crucial. It allows you to anticipate and adapt to the unique challenges posed by the size and diversity of the crowd. Effective facilitation in such settings demands both adaptability and skill.
Have you encountered any specific strategies or techniques that work well in managing communication within larger, more diverse gatherings? Sharing insights from your experiences could provide valuable guidance to others dealing with similar challenges.
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