You have to love the way life mimics life. In life people say “group facilitation, we got this”, then they get in front of people and realise that there are some skills required to effectively work with a group of people. The fact is there are some fundamentals of group facilitation that people sometimes forget to apply.
What are these fundamentals? (There are others, but these are at the top of my list).
1. Know the session purpose and context;
2. Know your role as the facilitator and not the subject matter expert;
3. Trust the expertise of the group; AND
4. Bring quality processes to harness that expertise and balance power dynamic.
Enter COVID-19 and the social fabric of society is becoming locked behind doors. Then life mimics life – “lets jump on Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp” comes the cry… it’s just a meeting online right?
Twenty minutes into the meeting and people are checking emails, dropping their video so they can do a sneaky snack or dash of online shopping.
It turns out that there are some skills involved in working a group of people.
Online meetings can be facilitated, and by applying the same principles, meetings go from virtual to virtually real! We still need to know the purpose and context, we still need a facilitator that is there to facilitate, we still need to trust the group. But more than that, we need to harness quality processes and how you deliver processes for online meetings is different to delivery in a room.
One of my favourite free tools is Google docs and Google sheet… online, live, multiuser editing. For those who know your way around a Google sheet formula you can set them up so small groups each contribute into one tab, and then you can see all the collated input on another tab… see below for some screenshots
Life mimics life – effective online meetings need the same creativity and thought as an effective face to face meeting.
The best part of moving to online facilitation… your facilitator can now be anywhere in the world.
There are lots of other tools out there and we will be profiling a few of them in the Virtually Real workshop (online of course).