What is a meeting monster?
My daughter asked me to spend some time with her.
“I can’t right now,” I replied. I’m the meeting monitor today.”
She shot me a funny look. “Daddy, what’s a meeting monster?”
The name stuck. My fellow presenters and I have been using it ever since.
In an in-person presentation, a speaker is typically kept “off in the wings” until the emcee reads an introduction and welcomes them onto the stage. This creates an air of excitement and anticipation.
When presenting virtually, the speaker all too often ends up arriving early, welcoming guests into the session, explaining the guidelines about muting microphones and the differences between speaker view and gallery view. This is the equivalent of being the usher at your own play: “Hmm … let me see your ticket. “Looks like you’re in Row C, Seat 27 … right over here.” Introducing yourself in a “production crew” role robs you of the opportunity to “come out swinging” as a powerful speaker with an attention-grabbing opening line.
As we’ve been exploring the fine points of virtual speaking, several of my speaker colleagues and I have banded together to support one another. As “meeting monsters,” we are co-hosts who welcome guests into the session, establish the meeting rules and format, and then introduce the main speaker who is waiting to switch their video on.
Once the presentation is in progress, the meeting monster watches the chat window, admits latecomers into the session, and keeps an eye on who’s audio is muted and who’s is not.
If the presenter is standing at a distance from the screen, the meeting monster looks for raised hands. “Miss Speaker, we have a question from Betty. Betty can you unmute your microphone please?” This frees the presenter to interact with the audience without having to scroll through panels of participants or use their keyboard and mouse to operate the meeting software controls.
And if someone misbehaves, the meeting monster can eject them from the session without interrupting the presentation.
As co-host, your meeting monster offers a special type of insurance. Once, while in the middle of an important virtual presentation, I heard a loud crack of thunder. What if the power goes off? I’ll lose my session! Adding a co-host ensures that the meeting won’t spontaneously combust if there’s a power problem or computer crash. As long as the session is co-hosted, attendees will remain connected.
And if your meeting monster is a capable presenter in their own right, if technology fails you, they’ll keep the crowd engaged while you resolve your issues. “Looks like Dave is having some technical difficulties. While we wait for him to reconnect, let’s review some of the key principles we’ve discussed so far….”
Be there for your fellow speakers and they’ll be there for you. Offer to serve as meeting monster for a more experienced presenter to open up conversations and build valuable relationships.
The most important reason to serve as a meeting monster? Helping your fellow speakers shine so they can transform their audiences more effectively feels good. Knowing they’ll put their talent to work for you to help you accomplish the same feels great.
Who’s your meeting monster? Your audience may not remember their name, but a quality meeting assistant will ensure they remember yours.