While Richard Smith and I wrote CLICK: The Virtual Meetings Book, we received many questions on quick and easy ways meeting leaders can prepare for and begin virtual meetings on the right track. Here are 8 practical tips to help you prepare for and start virtual meeting facilitation to completely (yet easily) transform your meeting outcomes:
(You can get this checklist of 8 tips in a print-friendly version too – download it here.)
1. Distribute relevant information prior to the meeting – including the meeting objectives, agenda, specified time zones of start/end times, and ground rules.
2. Limit agenda items so that the entire call can be completed in two hours or less. If necessary, break the meeting into several
3. Ask participants to submit preliminary input and ideas before the meeting.
4. Request for multiple people at the same location to assemble together in a conference room or other suitable office/environment.
5. Create a list that shows the name and location of each person expected in the meeting.
6. Conduct a roll call. Ask each person to state his/her name and location.
7. Inform-excite-empower-involve in your opening words:
• Inform participants of the meeting’s purpose.
• Excite them about their participation by explaining the benefits.
• Empower them by letting them know the authority they’ve been given.
• Involve them by asking a Type B question that engages them. (Learn about the Type B question in The Effective Facilitator!)
8. Add any specific ground rules to assist with “remote meeting etiquette,” such as the following:
• Announce yourself when joining or leaving the meeting.
• Always identify yourself before speaking.
• Avoid using the “hold” button.
Want more tips like these? Here’s another free checklist – learn 6 additional tips on keeping your participants engaged in virtual meetings.
Happy Virtual Facilitating!
Certified Master Facilitator Michael Wilkinson is the CEO and Managing Director of Leadership Strategies, Inc., The Facilitation Company and author of The Secrets of Facilitation 2nd Edition, The Secrets to Masterful Meetings, and The Executive Guide to Facilitating Strategy. Leadership Strategies is a global leader in facilitation services, providing companies with dynamic professional facilitators who lead executive teams and task forces in areas like strategic planning, issue resolution, process improvement and others. The company is also a leading provider of facilitation training in the United States, having trained over 18,000 individuals.