As Todd described in his blog on July 1, most of us are trying to do more with less. And though technology can bleed over into our personal lives as DeeAnne described in her last post, it can also be quite a time and money saver. For example, online meetings reduce travel times when colleagues are scattered across the state and certainly eliminate travel costs.
I have one or two online meetings or leadership program orientations that I’ll be leading every day this week. While meeting with people or conducting training online is never the same as it is in person, I’ve found that several practices can enrich the online experience.
- Use web cams! While some folks may be reticent to project their own face via web cam, it enriches the meeting because participants can see each other.
- Ask lots of questions. Asking questions AND waiting for participants to answer, increases engagement. (It also lessens the possibility that folks are tuning you out.)
- Share the facilitation. Ask various participants to lead parts of the online meeting. Have them share their desktop to walk through their materials.
- Use the online tools! Depending on the online platform you are using, WebEx, Go To Meeting, etc., there are nice tools that you can use to engage participants, like a chat box, polling features, or other icons that can be selected to gauge agreement on issues.
This Friday, I’m meeting with a group of coaches who are used to meeting in person only. Because of time constraints, we will be meeting virtually for the first time ever in our 5-year history. I’ll be using all of the strategies I’ve listed above to make sure everyone is engaged.
What have you found to be helpful when leading a meeting online?
Hi Anita – I’ve found these to be helpful: 1) Have a plan and articulate what it is for using the mute feature to minimize background noise and feedback. 2) Use the raise your hand feature. It can help to ensure that everyone gets in the discussion, especially for people who do not like to be the first to jump in with a comment. 3) Split up the meeting facilitator and meeting monitor tasks. Doing so helps with meeting flow, and it can also help you to ensure that any chat activity is better incorporated into the content of the meeting.
Thanks for your excellent tips Jill! I use the raise your hand feature quite a bit and I agree that having a plan to reduce background noise is essential.