Inviting Participation In Your Virtual Meetings

As a facilitator of virtual meetings, are you the hub of all communications or do you empower participants to interact among themselves?

Air traffic controlVirtual participation, interactivity, isn’t just a ‘nice to have’.  As with in-person meetings, two-way conversations, facilitator-participants, and participants-participants, are a key determinant of group success.

Knowing how to keep meetings participatory in the virtual world is both: challenging, and a necessary skill for virtual facilitators. As a virtual facilitator, you choose:

  • monologue or dialogue
  • more or less (meeting) control
  • timing of interactions with participants
  • what to do when there is non-participation
  • and more…

Here’s a two-minute screencast I created (as part of my virtual collaboration e-course) to look at the the participation challenge, and some ways to meet that challenge:

Knowing what you should be doing as a virtual meeting facilitator or participant is different from actually doing it.

For example, at an in-person meeting, these actions might take place:

  • The facilitator asks a meeting participant for input
  • The facilitator divides the team of 9 into 3 small groups
  • The facilitator points to an item on a flip chart, taped to the wall
  • A participant raises their hand to ask a question
  • A participant talks with their (meeting) neighbour

Your challenge: How might each of those (above) in-person meeting actions be accomplished in a virtual meeting?

Here are a couple of top-notch books (I use these) that will help you keep virtual meetings participatory:

What’s your favourite technique or resource that you draw on to keep virtual meetings participatory?

(Photo credit: NATS Press Office on Flickr)
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