Providing effective cross-functional collaboration and remote meetings are critical to the success of project management. Building talented teams across multiple time zones is an enormous advantage, but there are recurring challenges.
FREMONT, CA: Despite the advantages of remote meetings, many organizations continue to need help to maximize the efficiency of their existing virtual meetings. Technological and participation concerns will undoubtedly diminish the probability of success. A facilitator who maintains a well-organized and well-prepared meeting will ensure that each member receives the same value from it and contributes equally to its outcome.
Consider the following seven challenges to the facilitation of remote meetings or virtual workshops when planning and conducting your online session:
Technical concerns with the Internet and audio-visual platforms
Provide sufficient time for attendees to acquire a dependable Internet connection and the necessary equipment for the conference, including high-quality audio, decreased external noise, software connections, and device instructions.
Alignment of objectives and aims
The alignment process needs to be improved by a lack of open communication or unwillingness to discuss. Include activities to enhance alignment, establish objectives early on, and ensure everyone is on the same page. Send the agenda in advance and vote on issues to ensure mutual comprehension.
Reduced conversational flow
Continuous dialogues and dialogue will be a challenge. Establish communication guidelines at the beginning of the meeting. If required, use an icebreaker to promote participation without monopolizing the discussion.
Participation can be challenging if people are easily distracted and at home. Create a creative, dynamic, diverse portfolio, including a short video, presentations, surveys, and participation-inducing activities.
Absence of visual feedforward
It is more challenging to interpret visual and nonverbal signs online. Evaluate the response by observing the audience's facial expressions and body language in a gallery view. Interact and communicate with the camera with your hands and body.
Remote work requires constant screen time. Determine first whether all meetings are essential. Ask the group at regular intervals if they need breaks. Additionally, encouraging your group to participate will help them pay attention, and invested participants will be more engaged.
Etiquette ensures proper manners and attitudes at meetings. Distribute appropriateness or a set of rules in advance and instruct them on using the platform's features, such as the mute and chat buttons.
FIVE RECOMMENDED APPROACHES FOR ENHANCED VIRTUAL FACILITATING
As a facilitator, to enhance participation and engagement, you must have well-organized and well-prepared meetings and employ the most effective strategies for overcoming hurdles. The objectives of an online meeting are identical to those of a face-to-face meeting, but additional efforts must be taken to ensure its success.
Recognize your platform
There may be individuals with limited connectivity capabilities. Familiarize yourself with the elements that could improve your facilitation.
Be innovative and engaging.
Utilize Google Docs, Mural, Stormz, and other IT platforms in conjunction with screen sharing, chat roll, and break-out rooms to enhance the creativity and interactivity of your virtual facilitation structure and delivery.
Ensure emotional security throughout your online meetings
Participants must feel comfortable posing questions, exchanging ideas, and actively participating. Focus on learning and advancement instead of "perfect" or "correct" questions or answers.
Maintain session order
Online sessions may make keeping a session on track more challenging, but the same rules apply to in-person meetings. Prepare and distribute an agenda, maintain strict time limits between delegate presentations, and provide a "parking lot" for unrelated issues. Maintain participant engagement and activity by avoiding unnecessary technical tools and applications and focusing on time and attention spans.
Make meetings more productive and meaningful.
Maintain flexibility in your agenda and objectives to provide room for creative ideas and enlightened conversation rather than making these meetings essential.