How to Facilitate a Virtual Meeting

Tools Used

These guidelines were taken from the following publication and handout:

  1. Determine Meeting Basics

    Determine why, when, where, and with whom the meeting is taking place. Consider what software is best for your situation, and make sure you know how to use it. Pre-planning will keep potential snafus to a minimum.

  2. Customize the Virtual Meeting to Meet Objectives

    Different meeting objectives require different approaches. Some meetings require a good deal of engagement and collaboration, while others require none. The list below can be used to determine the objective—to inform, consult, discuss, or collaborate—and advise how involved the participants need to be in the meeting.

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    A. Meeting Objective – Inform
    Participants will be informed about a policy, decision, issue, product, tool, or service. Communication is primarily one way. One or more speakers will be informing the audience about a topic.

    Ideal Number of Participants: 5 to 100s

    Techniques by Meeting Objective: Inform

    B. Meeting Objective – Consult
    Meeting conveners will consult with selected participants about a modification, resolution, policy, issue, product, tool, or service. The conveners may or may not use the input from participants.

    Ideal Number of Participants: 5 to 100s

    Techniques by Meeting Objective: Consult

    C. Meeting Objective – Discuss
    Meeting conveners will discuss options for resolution or development with participants and modify approaches accordingly.

    Ideal Number of Participants: Up to 25

    Techniques by Meeting Objective: Discuss

    D. Meeting Objective – Collaborate
    Meeting conveners will facilitate a discussion with a group of selected participants to provide an opportunity for them to collaborate and make resolutions, modifications, or developments together. All participants agree to forgo their positions for a decision that advances the common good.

    Ideal Number of Participants: 8 to 12

    Techniques by Meeting Objective: Collaborate

  3. Conduct the Meeting with Proven Strategies

    Use visuals, such as photos or webcam, and microphones to identify speakers, and establish a system for audience feedback to avoid several responses at once. Participants should set their own meeting ground rules as each one will be unique, but there are some standards: turn off your email, announce your name before you speak, abstain from side conversations, and, most importantly, speak loudly and clearly.