Think of a great party or social gathering you attended before COVID-19. What were the things that made it great? Was it the wine, the food, old friends, new acquaintances, the conversations, music, dancing, ambience, the laughter? All these made this gathering successful and I’m sure the hosts planned it with that in mind.
Now, think of a great meeting you attended in person a few months back; then think about what made it great. Perhaps the topic was engaging, new ideas were shared, you expanded your understanding of a subject, connected with colleagues, planned something together successfully, and had some fun as well! This was a well-designed meeting, and the planners made sure of it.
Now that we are meeting virtually, this planning is even more important. We are still human beings, seeking to connect and make a difference. If you haven't already, take advantage of courses I am offering to help you hold better meetings online.
Here are some essential strategies to ensure your in-person or virtual meeting is successful:
Make Sure your Meeting has Purpose and is Compelling
Then follow through by designing and facilitating it to engage participants, give them opportunity to connect, and work together to accomplish the intended goals.
Be Serious about Real Engagement
Remember, our time together is precious! Let everyone know that their participation is important, then provide opportunities for genuine participation. Ask participants to take a break from emails and messaging to minimize distractions. Share what you intend to accomplish with their participation. Then follow through by holding authentic conversations and structuring meaningful breakouts for smaller discussions or problem solving. If people don’t feel their participation matters, they will lose focus and multi-task.
Stimulate creative powers
Your choice: virtual meetings can be stimulating or deadening. To keep everyone stimulated, change things up often and use creative strategies to expand thinking, making sure each piece contributes to the outcomes of the meeting. Facilitate individual and group processes to stimulate bold new ways to accomplish your goals and learn from each other. We facilitators are expert at both method and process, and are excited about all the new platforms for facilitating productive engaging online meetings. We make it easy to be successful.