Taking turns. It’s a simple concept and one that we are taught from an early age at home and at school. In so many circumstances in life, whether waiting in line to order lunch or attend a sporting event, it’s something that we’ve all been trained to do. Granted, there are folks who do cut in line or try to avoid taking turns, but the results are seldom positive.
In professional settings and business meetings, taking turns is, well, kind of a big deal. Speaking out of turn at a diplomatic or professional meeting is frowned upon, to put it mildly. At press conferences and town halls, you may even have to get on a pre-approved speakers list before you are given the chance to speak.
As these and other professional meetings move online, the expectations about how we participate in them should be no different. What is more, good turn taking is vital to a successful outcome in meetings conducted in more than one language. At KUDO, we understand how important meeting protocol is. And to keep these meetings at a professional level it isn’t enough to just raise your virtual hand and wait to be called on from among a sea of faces on a computer screen. In fact, not every attendee in a virtual meeting should be on screen all the time.
Who Should be on Screen?
Although your virtual meeting may have hundreds or even thousands of attendees, only a few will actually be given the chance to speak and even fewer will be on screen or in front of all the attendees at one time. Just like in face-to-face meetings, not everyone sits on the dais at the front of the room. The attention is only on a few key people—the speaker, the meeting chair, a few panelists, possibly some invited VIPs. And at any given time, only one person should “take the floor,” or be given the opportunity to speak. “Taking the floor” is international diplomatic lingo for turning on your mic and speaking to all meeting attendees.
Managing the list of those who have requested to speak is extremely important in an online meeting with multiple participants. And more so in multilingual meetings with simultaneous interpretation because not even the most amazing interpreter can interpret two people speaking at the same time.
Taking turns is not just a matter of order and professional courtesy. It is a best practice and sound meeting etiquette that will save you time and make your meetings more effective, provided the platform you choose offers you an easy way to discipline the use of the floor.
Like KUDO, for example. Our multilingual web conferencing solution gives you everything you need to hold meetings with remote simultaneous interpretation and the tools to moderate highly interactive meetings in multiple languages and with dozens of active speakers.
Taking the Floor: Here’s How It Works
So, what do you do when you want to speak or “take the floor?” This is where our “Request to Speak” button comes in to play. Meeting participants simply click on this button when they wish to speak and then wait for the meeting chair to give them permission to speak or to “take the floor.”
Once participants have made their request, their names are then placed on the “Request List,” which everyone in the meeting can see to know who has requested to speak and in what order. When “given the floor,” participants can then turn on their microphone and camera so they appear on screen in front of the virtual audience when they speak. Think of it this way. It’s like stepping up to the podium and speaking in front of the entire meeting or like turning on a microphone in front of you as you sit at the negotiation table. When you do this, the attention is on you. This helps keep meetings on track and eliminates distractions. Once participants are done speaking, they simply turn off the microphone and give “the floor” back to the meeting chair or moderator. On KUDO, that means participants “release” their microphone using the blue “Release Mic” button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. When they do, their video no longer appears on the screen, and they return to the virtual audience.
Not Your Average Web Conferencing Platform
As you can see, KUDO is not your average web conferencing platform. It was built from the ground up to facilitate professional multilingual web meetings. From dynamic web meetings to webinars and from on-site/online hybrid meetings to web streaming in multiple languages, KUDO combines professional interpreting with cutting-edge technology to help you get business done across languages and around the world.