For the most part, your agenda items for virtual meeting or workshop don’t change much from an in-person meeting.  However, how you execute each agenda item does require a shift in thinking. For example, joining the meeting.

Meeting lobby

If your web conferencing solution supports multiple room layouts, you’ll want to take a few minutes and setup a virtual lobby for those that join early.

A few reasons this is helpful include:

  • Participants can quickly confirm they are at the right meeting
  • The meeting materials are available for attendees to download (just in case they forgot to do it earlier)
  • All the audio connection information is quickly available
  • For video and technical support, you can provide instructions to help everyone enable and test their video connection.

My big learning from week one of virtual operations during COVID-19 is that we are all at a high distraction level, so anything you can do help the group successfully kickoff the meeting is appreciated. 

Participant Introductions

The second point is introductions.  If at all possible, encourage everyone to share their video as part of the meeting introductions.  Video takes a lot of bandwidth, but it’s worth it for this short period.

It’s also important to spend some time on housekeeping items such as:

  • How to ask questions using the Chat window
  • How to raise your hand to get the attention of the presenter or facilitator
  • And, how to let your know if you have to step away

Main Meeting Content

During the main part of your meeting, there are a few tips that help keep everyone on track:

First, you always want to see the video feed for the current presenter.  Take the time to test this ahead of time with each of your presenters.

Second, even if not everyone can keep their video live for the entire meeting, keep the attendee list visible to everyone.

Virtual Meeting Breaks

We run breaks in virtual a meeting very similarly to an in-person meeting.  However, if you’re spanning a big geography, be timezone sensitive in developing your agenda!

Having a HANGRY group is just as challenging virtually as in person!

One final suggestion is to create a break layout for your meeting.  One of the best tools we use at breaks is sharing a Question & Answer pod/area so that your group can ask questions they’d like addressed when everyone returns from lunch or a short break.

Thanks for visiting today’s post! Be sure to check our summary post for the other tips we’ve presented over the past week.

Video Series: Facilitating Engaging Virtual Workshops

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Sandra MacGillivray

Managing Director at Valency Inc.
Sandra is the Managing Director for Valency Inc., an implementer of best practices from the Construction Industry Institute (CII) that dramatically improve capital project performance. She is a Certified PDRI Facilitator, Registered Education Provider (REP) with the Construction Industry Institute (CII), a Project Management Professional (PMP), and a PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP) with over 15 years of project management experience. Sandra is a past research team member with the Construction Industry Institute on front end planning, risk management and portfolio management. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo and a Master in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University.