Event Industry Notable Stuff

How To Facilitate Collaboration During Virtual Meetings

Written by melissam

There isn’t a single problem we can’t solve if we combine our collective intelligence. This is the primary reason why virtual meetings must be collaborative. Without it, we risk squandering insights, ideas, and the perspective of our stakeholders.

During my last class, How to Facilitate Collaborative Meetings Online, we identified multitasking as the primary distraction factor while video conferencing, both personally and for our audiences.

What’s wrong with that? Why do we need to mitigate multitasking?

Our brains can only focus on one thing at a time. The brain works like a switch.

When we multitask our comprehension has holes in it, like swiss cheese!

Focus is essential to comprehension and retention of information.

Don’t just take my word for it, check out molecular biologist and author of Brain Rules,  Dr. John Medina’s research for more insight.

Virtual Meeting Collaboration Tips

Keep their hands busy. Use two different platforms; one for the presentation and video, the other for collaboration via a mobile device.

For brainstorming and ideation, use breakout rooms to facilitate small group discussions.

It’s difficult to disengage and hide out when you are in a small group discussion. Not all virtual meeting tools have this feature, but I know Zoom and Adobe Connect offer this.

I often give each small group a problem to solve, then have them present their team’s ideas to the larger group. The side benefit is it helps people find belonging in a more intimate setting rather than a large team discussion where it’s easy to hide.

Remember, you are fighting against multitasking and loss of attention. Small group work is a useful tool in your arsenal. 

Use #hashtags to tag comments based on the topic. Doing so makes it much easier to search and report on comments by subject, versus manually combing through a sea of comments lumped together. This is a facilitator’s dream come true!

For prioritization, use upvoting to allow stakeholders to vote on the best ideas and solutions. Let the community chose the best ideas through liking other attendee’s ideas posted to the discussion. The best ideas will bubble to the top and quickly allow you to see what ideas are trending and deserve more consideration. 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

Shift the decision making power from a few to many. Instead of having a select few dominants (those with the power) make the decisions, solve problems collaboratively by allowing teams to vote on priorities and outcomes. It creates a sense of ownership and autonomy, which also increases relevancy and focus.

Enable anonymous comments. Allowing attendees to contribute with anonymity helps create physiological safety for all to share contrarian viewpoints without the risk of backlash.

Unfortunately, groupthink often influences decisions, innovation, and outcomes. Ensuring all voices are heard and considered, is the antidote. Virtual collaboration tools enable the feasibility of capitalizing on the power of anonymity and mitigates the negative impact of groupthink.

Which tools can help us facilitate collaboration online? When facilitating virtual meetings, I prefer Evenium’s ConnexMe and Zoom. Connexme offers a robust set of collaboration tools that help me facilitate inclusive group discussions that result in better outcomes, efficient data gathering, and reporting.

To learn more about ConnexMe, feel free to contact Ben Leikach bleikach@evenium.us or Eyal Hadida eyal.hadida@evenium.com .

Design with outcomes in mind. There are all sorts of whiz-bang experiences you can build into a virtual meeting; however, designing relevant collaboration exercises is paramount.

Start with the end in mind. What do you want people to do after the session is over? The answer to this question should inform the design of your meeting.

Only brain-friendly presentations allowed!  

If you want to keep your audience’s attention and expect comprehension of your message, you must design and deliver presentations that work with their brain and not against it.

What to learn how? No worries. Register for the course Mesmerize: How to Design and Deliver Brain-Friendly Presentations. Click here for register for the live course, or click here to take it on-demand.


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Melissa is a Strategic Planning Sherpa®. She guides the development of strategies that lead organizations to their desired outcomes. These journeys result in leadership lessons that Melissa uses to enable greatness in others through keynote speaking, workshop facilitation, online courses, and publications. The Melissa Majors Consulting team is unapologetic about putting the people it serves at the center of everything they do. They find joy in helping their customers serve their own constituents in a meaningful way. For more info visit https://melissamajors.com