I have learnt so much in the last few months about working across time zones to make things happen. In my Director role with the International Association of Facilitators,
I have global Professional Development accountabilities. This has resulted in me having to transition from being a participant in multi-participant online meetings to facilitating them. My sense is that I’m not on my own with this steep learning curve. If you’re interested, I plan to share some of my learnings as I go along. Today I share some of my learnings about simply getting ready for the event. And believe me, even with wonderful support from experienced colleagues, I’ve still learnt the hard way!
Prepare; prepare; prepare!! It’s always important to prepare for a meeting and even more so for online meetings.
- What is your purpose? Is this the best way to achieve it? Could some of your requirements be met better in another way to free up more time for those matters that are essential to address together online?
- What can be shared prior to the meeting so that all participants are well informed?
- How will it be most effective for participants to contribute during the meeting – verbally, writing responses to posted questions, voting in polls, a mixture of processes
- Ideally, the type of presentation and participant contribution you need will determine the distance platform you will use. The practical reality may be the other way round. What can the available platform do? Get as familiar as you can with the capabilities and foibles of your available platform?
- Does everyone have access to the necessary technology – 2 way headset; fast broadband etc?
- Who will manage any technical glitches or difficulties participants may experience in logging into the meeting or once online? And you can be pretty certain they will
- Be clear about how long before the meeting commences you need participants to log in to ensure the technology is working okay?
- With a meeting of participants who know each other already, do you need to make explicit that the ‘catch up chat’ should occur prior to the commencement of the formal agenda?
- It is essential to make meeting protocol explicit e.g. How do you signal you want to contribute?
- How will you capture and share meeting outcomes when multi-media contributions are used?
Good luck with your online meeting facilitation journey and I’ll continue to share my experiences.