1. As always connect people early on with What's in it for me - the WIIFM. Get people to reflect for a second on what they want to get out of their participation and ask them how present they intend to be. Sometimes naming the 'elephant' in the room, can help to bring more awareness for participants and their attention.
2. Use visuals - While there is the downside of having computers on during virtual calls, when used in a way that prompts focus and movement it can be useful. If you are only using bridgelines, consdier sending out written materials people can refer to and make notes on, as appropriate
3. Keep the pace moving and hold attention to process. While lengthy discussions are always needed, attention span is critical. Energy levels are key in virtual meetings. Let people know what they can expect from the process and what' s next.
4. Where possible (due to technology, bandwidth) try to provide "eye-ball" to eye-ball opportunities. whether you use a group video skype call or a platform like Zoom (where you can have screensharing, video streaming of participants as well as dial-ins by phone) providing people with the opportunity to be seen can also keep people on their toes.
5. Change the pace regularly. In face to face training we often say we need to adapt the pace every 7=10 minutes,w ether it is by posing a question for people to reflect on, something for people to write down or turn to their neighbour with, be aware of the need for pace changes. Masterful virtual facilitators are aware of the energy throughout the call and when a pace change is needed. This could involve posing a question for people to note what they need to do, or showing a new slide, or getting people to input their ideas in to chat.
What tips do you have for others around Virtual Engagement? We'll be covering these and more at the upcoming Virtual Affiliation Skills Intensive program starting February 4th (5 weeks - Thursdays 12 - 3 pm ET) online.
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