Managing Large Groups of People
During the course of business there can be situations that involve a large number of employees, customers, business associates or shareholders. A good manager must know how to manage large groups of people effectively in such situations. It could be a gathering of a large group for the purpose of an internal training session or seminar, or a business conference involving members of various sales teams and sales distributors, or a product launch party, or a shareholders’ meeting. In all such situations the manager must know the art of managing the group successfully and conduct the proceedings in a cohesive manner to achieve the desired results.
Playing the Role of a Facilitator
The manager’s role in handling a large group of people is more of a facilitator. It may be an occasion to facilitate an interactive session or a meeting between the employees and the management, or simply an in-house training workshop for a large group of workers. In every case, the manager should be able to present the aim and purpose of the occasion to all and define the course of the proceedings so that everything moves in an organized manner. In some situations, the manager may require dividing the large group into a few subgroups. He may appoint a head for each subgroup for more effective outcome. In other situations, there may be a group leader who will chair the proceedings, in case the manager himself is not the chairperson for the occasion.
The facilitator is not merely a speaker or a mediator in a group. His primary job is to ensure that every participant gets adequate opportunity to contribute and that the desired goals of the event are achieved individually as well as collectively. The group must remain within the defined parameters of time and focused agenda of the meeting and it must continue to move in the desired direction.
Techniques to Manage Large Groups
One of the smart ideas about how to manage large groups of people effectively is to use specific tools that involve people’s participation rather than letting them remain mute spectators to the proceedings. One of the common tools a manager will use is “Go Round" in which every participant gets a chance to speak or contribute one by one. Brainstorming sessions may have to be avoided in large groups because they can turn chaotic and the situation may spiral out of control. Energizers or group games can be introduced when it seems that the group is losing track or feeling tired or bored. Games can also serve as icebreakers when it is important to familiarize people and make them comfortable with each other.
In a large group it is important that communication must be aided effectively to ensure that the message reaches out clearly to every individual present in the group. Whiteboards are a common aid for discussions in large groups. Electronic presentations can also be used to help in easier communication. This is particularly important when the issues under discussion are complicated or technical in nature.
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