Six things you will want to do prior to the meeting are:
1 Get to know the participants - what are their needs, learning agendas, where are they based,. The more you know about your group the better able you are to serve their needs. With longer term ritual learning events I schedule a quick 15 minute pre call to meet each person. As I have written in the past, this is an essential part of building trust and connection with participants, and also gives me a sense of who is going to be in the 'room" (even if its virtual!.
2 Create an agenda - Virtual facilitators play a key role in holding a strong focus on process. Creating an agenda that meets the needs and purpose of the session is critical. Consider what input meeting participants or learners want/need and how you will facilitate this.
3. Be clear on how much time the meeting is really going to take. Estimating time comes from experience, AND in a virtual meeting sloppy time management can quickly derail meetings. Add time to your agenda and let group members know how much time there is for each section so they can prepare their input.
4. Consider who needs to be at the table - there is noting worse in a meeting than not having the right people at the table , or having the materials nee
5. Ensure that you have all the materials needed - what will you need during the meeting? Do these need to be sent out to others prior to the meeting.
6. Send out links and materials well enough in advance - I usually like to aim for 1 week if possible, or at least at the start of the week for a meeting later in the week. Keep in mind people's travel schedules and timezones.
As a bonus - check your technology. double check that you have sent out the right bridge line with access codes and/or that your meeting links work and are set for the right time!
Keeping in mind these best practices will help you be successful with your next virtual meeting.
Download a copy of these virtual meeting tips here. we'll be covering this and more info on the upcoming Virtual facilitation Skills intensive 'Virtual Train-the-trainer" from February 4 - March 4 (Thursdays 12 -3 pm Eastern by phone, skype and other virtual platforms). Click here to learn more.
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