A Dozen Tips for Facilitating an Online Meeting


A Dozen Tips for Facilitating an Online Meeting

in Facilitator Resources, Facilitation Tips

1. Preparation for online meetings – Pay attention to logistics (1)

Structure an agenda to keep things on track – it’s hard to get away with being ill-prepared. Make sure everyone knows the schedule, start and end times for each agenda item, when they have flexibility and when deadlines are tight. Make sure that people have enough focused time at the time in the agenda when you need them.

2. Preparation for online meetings – Pay attention to logistics (2)

You no longer need to worry about wall space and seating arrangements. You do need to:

  • Send out a detailed agenda and background documents to review.
  • Check that pre-work is completed - don’t assume that people will follow instructions.
  • Pick up the phone and send regular email updates. Ask for confirmation.

3. Preparation for online meetings – Pay attention to logistics (3)

You no longer need to worry about traffic getting to the meeting and the lunch menu. You do need to:

  • Pre-arrange how participants will check in on changing meeting arrangements or instructions.
  • Make sure you know where the meeting owner or client is going to be and schedule times to discuss the progress and outcomes of the meeting.

4. During an online meeting: Pay attention to group process (1)

As facilitators we need to monitor the flow of the conversation and keep things moving.

  • Check on participation: who has shown up and for how long?
    Instigate an electronic sign-in sheet.
  • Adjust your time schedule if contributions progress quicker or slower than expected.
  • Declare an end to each step of the process as you move through the agenda.

5. During an online meeting: Pay attention to group process (2)

Body language and verbal cues are not available so look for other ways to monitor the group process.

  • Let participants know where you are in the process.
  • Ask participants how they think the meeting is progressing. Use phone, email or a check-in topic.
  • Provide a means for participants to ask you questions and broadcast the responses.

6. During an online meeting: Pay attention emerging results (1)

Being clear about meeting objectives and outcomes enables you to adjust if things go off track.

  • Work with the owner or client to monitor contributions and determine if things are on track.
  • Check the output of the discussion topics; do they have the breadth and depth expected?
  • Participate in the meeting yourself. Throw in provocative ideas and see what response you get.

7. During an online meeting: Pay attention to emerging results (2)

Being clear about meeting objectives and outcomes enables you to know if you are getting results.

  • Be prepared to stop and change course if the meeting is not achieving your objectives.
  • Bring closure to the whole meeting. Work with the owner or client to summarize results, confirm decisions and assign next steps.
  • Ask the owner to provide feedback to participants.

8. Establish trust within the virtual team

Set out a clear purpose for the team and ask each member why this is important to them.

  • Have the team develop some ground rules – what will make this virtual interplay work?
  • Establish regular check points to discuss how things are going.
  • Build personal connections and get to know each other.

9. How many people can participate in an online electronic meeting?

As with any meeting determining who should participate depends on the meeting objectives, the unique contributions different people provide and the extent of participation desired for purposes of buy-in and communication. Typical web conference size is 6 to 25 people. For smaller groups, E-mail may be sufficient. For larger groups, survey or asynchronous discussion topics may be appropriate.

10. Develop ground rules for your online meeting

Ask the group to agree to their own ground rules. Useful ones include:

  • Complete all online pre-meeting input ahead of the call
  • Show up on time, on the phone and online
  • Use the check-in topic to let us know how you are doing
  • Stay focused, avoid distractions during the meeting

11. Develop ground rules for your online meeting

Ask the group to agree to their own ground rules. Useful ones include:

  • Pay attention to the schedule and complete all assignments on time
  • Use the check-in topic to let us know how you are doing
  • Schedule times on your calendar to attend our asynchronous meetings
  • Communicate early and often 

12. Use online meeting tools to include participants who can’t get to your in-person meeting

Sometimes it is just not practical to get everyone together in the same place at the same time. However, you may know that certain people have critical input to contribute or needs to buy-in to the process. Set up an online discussion topic ahead of the face-to-face meeting as a way of getting input to “missing” participants.

About FacilitatePro

FacilitatePro LogoFacilitatePro is a cloud based or self hosted application that helps groups brainstorm and evaluate ideas, from any device, anywhere, anytime. Ideas you can implement. Decisions that have buy-in. FacilitatePro collects and distills your rain of ideas into the highest quality, clearest output possible to make your brainstorm effective and productive.


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
 


Testimonials

FacilitatePro allows union members and management representatives to brainstorm key issues anonymously, so that the best ideas surface without any social or political inhibitors. With Facilitatepro we are able to bring the two sides of the table together, in a conference room or over the internet. The result is a common action plan to promote job and business growth.
Jim Reid
High Performance Work Organization Partnerships, IAMAW