Yesterday Plan Zheroes, the charity I am proud to be the Knowledge Trustee of, held a board meeting. Unablle at the last minute to get to the venue I participated virtually. Here are a few learnings I’d like to share from the ‘Outside’ of the meeting.
All people in the room should be visible to the virtual attendee (s). If impractical then make sure the key players are.
As you can see we started with an empty space next to the Chairman where the CEO should have sat.
Unless you are in two specially built VC facilities the chances are you will be reliant on Skype or an equivalent VOIP connection. To improve reception make sure all other programmes (especially email) are switched off on the host and virtual machines.
Build in breaks and make no session last for more than an hour.
SInce conversations can often be distorted and difficult to follow from a distance (especially if there is interference on the line) make sure whomever is chairing the meeting summarises what was agreed at the end of each section of the agenda.
Don’t assume every word spoken in the room can be heard outside of it and be patient. I’ve seen virtual meetings fail because of an irritation with the technology +/or connection – why is it we always blame the other end for the poor connection – don’t apportion blame, apportion ownership of the task to get it right next time and have a back up system in place such as Facetime, ooVoo or Viber.
If you want more on this subject follow this link to a piece I wrote with Martin White of Intranet Focus for KM Legal 2015: 10 tips for effective virtual teams.