9 Ways to Make Remote Meetings and Workshops Better

We’ve all been in remote meetings now but what’s happening now is most likely new to you. We are all remote, all the time. That means you don’t spend time with your co-workers outside of meetings and those meetings are even worse now. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

TL;DR

  • Ask yourself: Could this meeting have been an email?
  • Always add a purpose and an agenda to a meeting.
  • Everything takes longer virtually.
  • Remove distractions like email or Slack notifications.
  • What feels like over-communicating is usually just right.
  • Use ice breakers to introduce tools.
  • Combine online and offline work, take breaks, have fun!

Don’t actually have a meeting

It’s more important than ever to ask yourself, could this meeting be an email? When in doubt, go with the email first. If people need to have a meeting after that, there will be a meeting, don’t worry.

Plan your meetings well and let people know

Only add the people that need to be there. Add people as optional if possible. You keep them in the loop while very clearly showing that it’s not a mandatory meeting and it’s up to them if they want to attend.

Everything takes longer when done virtually

I cannot say 100% why this is, but I would guess that it’s due to the new environment and more distractions. In my experience, e-ve-ry-thing takes longer when you do it in a virtual setting and that has ruined some of my meticulously planned workshop outlines. Now to be fair, outlines are hard to make as it is. Humans are involved in workshops so you can count on something unforeseeable happening.

When you’re on your comp… oh, an email!

There are tons of distractions on everyone’s computer. Email, Slack, iMessage, WhatsApp, Calendar, Facebook, the list is long and notifications will show up at the top of your screen all day long. You cannot help it but look, we’re all human. While writing this, I checked my email a couple of times and have been on and off Slack even more.

Explain things over and over

There will always be some distraction you don’t even see or hear, keep that in mind and explain things several times. It might seem tedious and border on annoying, but when you’re remote what feels like over-communication is just the right amount.

Use an ice breaker to introduce your tool(s)

I change my ice breakers up depending on the crowd and what’s needed for the workshop.

Get my template here! Just create a Mural from it in your own workplace and export it as a template, et voilà!

Being online is exhausting

In longer workshop sessions it makes sense to create an outline that combines online working sessions with offline focus work that everyone can do on their own. It is exhausting to be in front of a screen all day, even more than in-person full-day workshops.

Keep energy levels up

Not only the participants will be exhausted, but you will also be. Facilitating is hard work, but it shouldn’t look like it is.

Lastly, have some fun

I know this was probably a lot and it might be a little intimidating. Take it from me, it is not that crazy when you have some fun. Use energizers in between.

Product strategist, decision facilitator, team enabler, problem solver, design sprinter, agile enthusiast, intersectional feminist.

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