+44 (0) 7973 953586 paul@impro.org.uk

Discussing trends with fellow facilitators, we agree that virtual is here to stay. There are so many advantages, including:

  • No need for participants to travel
  • Global reach
  • No venue costs
  • People dropping in or out for however long is needed

Notice too how the elements reinforce each other. If I’ve enjoyed working from home and experienced a good virtual conference, I may be less willing to travel again – which will influence the decisions of the conference planners.

So it’s going to be important for facilitators to make smart choices, especially as the technologies get slicker and more seductive.

I’d like to see us make more sense of  these global opportunities. We can reach people across a range of different time zones, but that doesn’t mean we should insist everyone is available at inconvenient times when they may prefer to be sleeping.

Instead, we can make better use of asynchronous collaboration – before, during and after group sessions.

Probably the easiest and one of the most effective is to set up a shared document. With that you can:

  • Preview chunks of content for pre-reading
  • Pose questions you want the group to consider before the event
  • Invite initial reflections
  • Allow groups of any size to write collaboratively while they are connected online
  • Edit later
  • Document everything that’s needed

One of the biggest complaints about the rush to take everything online was that we left too little space around the meetings. Back-to-back meetings all day or the impossible demands of simultaneous sessions are unsurprisingly oppressive.

Allowing people to work more at their own speed and in their own time, with neat ideas such as shared documents, can offer more engaging, enjoyable and productive working.