Do you want to become a more effective meeting facilitator?

Then listen to ep #137 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast and learn the Zoom-In, Zoom-Out technique.

The Zoom-In, Zoom-Out technique takes its inspiration from cameras that have a zoom lens that you can use to either get close to see the details in a picture, or you can zoom-out to take in the whole view.

In meetings, if someone is going into too much detail about a subject, then you can stop them for a moment and ‘zoom-out’ to remind them about the bigger picture.

For example, if someone was talking for too long about cutting a specific line item in a budget, then you could stop them and remind them that you are having the meeting to consider as many cost saving scenarios as possible.

The Zoom-In, Zoom-Out is worth mastering so that you can get more out of your meetings!

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Full Transcript

Gordon Sheppard: If you are a meeting leader, and there are people in your meetings who are talking too much about the wrong things, then you’re going to get a lot out of today’s episode on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. That’s because today, we’re doing another simulation, another Meeting Leadership exercise, and today we’re going to talk about the zoom in and the zoom out facilitation technique.

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for practical tips from the coach with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.

Gordon Sheppard: Welcome to another episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast. My name is Gordon Sheppard, and whether you are on the treadmill, maybe you’re in the car, wherever you are, walking the dog, and you’re listening to this show, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for taking time out of your valuable day to spend time here, listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast, to get a practical tip. To get something, a strategy, anything that you can do to grow your leadership skills and have outstanding meetings that you know will not only impact your own satisfaction, your team’s satisfaction, but ultimately, will contribute to growing your organization so that you can serve your end user, your customer, your client, your community, at the highest possible level.

And today, on the show, we’ve got another installment in our Meeting Leadership exercises series. Today’s title is the Zoom In and Zoom Out Facilitation Technique. Now, I can tell you, as a professional facilitator, I use this all the time. And the basic idea is you’ve got somebody in the meeting, they’re kind of, again, down the rabbit hole, really kind of into a lot of detail. And as a good facilitator, what you want to be able to do is pull them out, but also, when you’re doing that, is you’re helping them to really connect it up to the big picture. So, when you’re zoomed in, you’re down to kind of those smaller details. And when you’re zoomed out, you’re pulling back to kind of 30,000 feet in the air and helping them to see how everything kind of connects together. And we are lucky enough, again, to have Tracy Carroll back on the show to help us. Tracy, welcome back to the show. It’s great to have you here.

Tracy Carroll: Thanks, Gord.

Gordon Sheppard: You know, it’s wonderful to have you on, on these other Meeting Leadership exercises episodes because I think people hearing that other voice can get a really good feel from the simulations that we’re doing, for what they can actually listen to right now and go back and apply to their very next meeting. So, as I stated before, we’re here to talk about the zoom in and zoom out facilitation techniques. So, right now with Tracy, what we’re going to do is we’re going to pretend to be in a scenario. In this case, it’s a nonprofit board meeting. Tracy, on the board, is in charge of organizing the annual fundraiser, and she’s going to be talking about some specific things and kind of riffing around that idea. I’m going to pretend to be the board chair, and we’re going to see this thing kind of get off the rails at first. And then, I’m going to demonstrate these techniques of zooming in and zooming out, to allow you to see the difference, about how a board chair might handle this given situation. So, let me just kick it off and I’ll just jump into this mode now where I’ve got my board chair hat on, and I’m going to say, Tracy, thank you so much. Can you give us an update on what’s happening with your preparation for the annual fundraiser?

Tracy Carroll: Well sure, things are really underway, and I just really wanted to put a call out to all of you that I need your help. So, I have lists here, and I would like everybody to sign up for the different parts of the fundraiser that you’re going to help with, okay? And I just have some final kind of confirmations to make with the space that we’re going to be in, plus I’ve got the food underway, but again, I’ve got to figure out who’s allergic to what.

Gordon Sheppard: Tracy, that’s a good job. I think you’re really demonstrating somebody who is not in check, when they’re kind of in a meeting. And now, what I’m going to do is I’m going to pretend to be the board chair again. I’ll lead off with that same question, and as we hear Tracy kind of talking through this similar scenario again, where she’s going through this kind of laundry list of things, that’s where we’re kind of zoomed in. We’re down the rabbit hole, we’re into this minutiae. I’m going to show how a facilitator board chair can step into that moment and kind of zoom out and connect the dots, so that things are coming together and make sure that things are as efficient as possible. So, here I go with the board chair hat again.

So, Tracy, thank you so much. Can you give us an update on your progress for the annual fundraiser?

Tracy Carroll: Well, things are going really well, and I’m really glad everybody’s here because I have a whole bunch of lists laid out, and I would like everybody to take a look and see where they can sign up.

Gordon Sheppard: So Tracy, I think what you’ve said to me is you started to put some lists together, is that right?

Tracy Carroll: Yes.

Gordon Sheppard: And when we think about that, what’s the source for your lists? Are you actually going to get that from our donor list? Are you getting that from our database? Where are you getting that from?

Tracy Carroll: The lists are the staff list so that I can get everybody on board to help with the fundraiser.

Gordon Sheppard: Oh, thank you. Okay, so you can see that they’re from the staff list. Now, I just wanted to mention to you that as you’re making up your list, I hope you don’t have too many expectations about the staff, maybe, being available for too many activities because we know it’s a really busy time of year.

Tracy Carroll: Yes, it is a busy time of year, and this event is huge. So, any time that people can put in, that would be really great.

Gordon Sheppard: Exactly, I just don’t want to get your expectations kind of out of whack there because I am aware of kind of how busy they really are.

Tracy Carroll: Yes.

Gordon Sheppard: And I’m going to hold in right there and just sort of say, as a meeting facilitator in that situation, so taking off my board chair hat for a second now and saying that we’re out of the simulation, you can see here that you’re not letting somebody kind of go on and on and on, but you’re starting to connect them to what you know and you’re weaving things together, as things occur. So sometimes, you’re zoomed in. Sometimes, you’re really in the weeds and in the minutiae, you know, the way that Tracy was going on and on. Or sometimes, as a facilitator, like I did just there, you don’t need to wait for her to keep going on and keep going on because you know that you have the information to add because you’ve got this broader perspective from what’s happening. So, what do you think, Tracy, do you think that might work as a facilitator?

Tracy Carroll: Of course that would help. Instead of just letting her ramble on, then somebody can guide her a little bit through what is really needed for the situation.

Gordon Sheppard: And at the given time, you’re really making sure you’re connecting everything back to the organization’s needs. Tracy, thank you so much for bringing your expertise back onto the show.

Tracy Carroll: You’re welcome, Gord.

Gordon Sheppard: And for all you listeners, I know that you’ll agree that this technique is something that you can apply immediately to your next meeting, to make it significantly better. And if you enjoyed this simulation today on the Meeting Leadership Podcast, then check out episode 88 on the show, as well. It’s another Meeting Leadership exercise, and that one is called The Repetition Technique for Active Listening. Then, on episode 98, we’ve got How to Ask Someone to be Your Mentor. And then, on episode 108, it’s another Meeting Leadership exercise, it’s called the You Be Me and I’ll Be You Self-Awareness Technique. And you can get any of those by going to, forward slash with the number. So,, or /108.

And I also want to let you know that this episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by the Meeting Leadership Academy. Now, it is a given that you can get some terrific live training and online training, there in the Academy. But the most important thing that you’ll get out of taking training through the Meeting Leadership Academy is a mindset shift. You’ll come out with the attitude that better meetings are possible, that you will build your leadership internal voice, to strengthen it over and over again. And that all happens by going to

And for everyone who is already a subscriber, thank you so much. And if you haven’t done it yet, please hit the subscribe button on your favorite podcast app to not miss an episode. And if you’re ready for another great expert interview, then check out 138, which is the next episode on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. There, we interview Joseph Doucet. He’s the Dean of the Alberta School of Business, and that’s at the University of Alberta. And he’ll be sharing his thoughts on a range of things that will take you through developing your leadership skills, helping you to learn how to run significantly better meetings, and you’ll be able to get inspired, as well, because we’re going to hear a real inspiration story from him that you will not forget. And as always, thank you so much for listening, and we’ll see you next time on the Meeting Leadership podcast.

Thanks for listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies that help you become an outstanding leader, and don’t forget to rate and review so we can bring you even more great content. We’ll see you next time, right here, on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

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Gordon Sheppard

Gord is on a mission to change the world, one meeting at a time. Over his 25+ years in business Gord has run or participated in more than 2000 meetings! Not only is Gord the CEO of Business Expert Solutions Inc. (owner/operator of Meeting Leadership Inc), but he is also a Facilitator, Trainer, Business Consultant, Author, Speaker and Podcaster who helps leaders learn how to have great meetings, so they can build outstanding organizations and serve their clients at the highest possible level.

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