Don’t exclude most of your attendees in your discussion within a live event

Welcome to the “What NOT to Do When Building an Online Community!”  In this article, we talk about a very easy tendency for many community leaders:
Don't exclude most of your attendees in your discussion within a live event.
Let's talk about a tendency that happens too often: course content discussions which end up being an exclusive discussion between a handful of attendees and the host.
The reality with most communities is that some people are very outspoken and willing to talk, while others are more than fine with listening and not talking in a discussion.  No one who is shy and withdrawn wants to be the center of attention, especially with a group of people who are unfamiliar to them.  With that in mind, forcing everyone to participate is generally a bad approach.
We also know there are people who love to talk and love to have the exclusive attention of the leader, without any concern of shutting out others who want to contribute to discussions, too.   When these people get the microphone, whether it's a literal or figurative situation, it becomes a difficult situation to take it back.
That's why it's critically important for the person who is leading the discussion to have a strategic plan beforehand to control and direct the conversations when it's time to “open it up for questions” or can control the conversation when a question is posed in the middle of what he or she is presenting.
If you want for your community to embrace your live events, make a point to recognize specific people who are in attendance.  The immediate benefit is that the person you call on will be paying closer attention on what you say, and that person will stay engaged in the event for a while.  The lasting benefit is that the person will be more likely to make comments, both on the live event and also in the chat boards.  And if you keep the “conversation” going, that person will give you more input than what would have happened if you didn't “call on them.”
Of course, give credit where credit is due.  When people write good comments, give them praise.  If they're willing to participate in the live video event, let them know you appreciate their involvement, especially if they appear to be introverted.  You don't have to make a big deal about someone, but it feels good for everyone concerned when you see someone take an active, positive role in your community.  The more you include in the event, the more opportunities you will see your community members rise to each occasion to participate.
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