3 High Impact Skills for Facilitating Virtual Team Meetings

Facilitation isn’t just for trainers anymore.

We all need to think of ourselves as facilitators. 

As we move through a hybrid world where teams are interacting on diverse platforms, it’s critical to have engaging, meaningful experiences for ourselves and our teams.

And, we’re all wishing for a better meeting experience! Research over the last three years has shown that it isn’t just the video screen that’s exhausting our brains. It’s too many very bad meetings! If we felt engaged and our meetings were run in an efficient manner, we would all have more energy and sense of achievement at the end of the day.

Here are three quick tips to improve your impact as a meeting facilitator. No matter if you lead a team of hundreds or you lead from where you are, we can all use these skills.

  1. Find Co-facilitators: Create an agenda for your meeting in advance and then figure out who could take different sections, so that you’re not the only person talking. This is a great way to engage under-contributors on your team. You know, the people who have their cameras off and are too shy to speak up? Ask for their participation in advance, give them plenty of time to prepare and choose topics that will allow them to show up as an expert. That will make it more interesting for the group, elevate an under-seen colleague and put less pressure on you to run the entire meeting.
  2. Speak for 10 minutes or less: It’s hard for anyone to stay focused on a virtual platform. If your voice is the only thing people hear for a long period of time, it’s difficult for them to stay engaged. Pause at least every 10 minutes to ask a question or engage another person. Give the focus to another speaker, do a poll or even play a snippet of music!
  3. Start on time and end 5 minutes early: It’s a shame that we still have schedules packed with meeting after meeting and very little space to stretch, use the restroom or clear our heads. As a meeting facilitator, if you respect other peoples’ time, they will respect and engage with you. Start your meetings exactly on time and always end at least 5 minutes early. Then people can get up, grab a cup of coffee or step outside. You’ll be the most popular meeting facilitator in your group!

You have the right to enjoy running meetings and your group has the right to engage in great meetings. Collaborate with your colleagues, break up content into 10-minute chunks, and respect colleagues’ time and energy. 

If you need support or want to take your facilitation to the next level, ImprovEdge can help.  Contact us for details on our Hybrid Facilitator Training.

This article is 100% written by a human named Karen Hough. She is the Founder & CEO of ImprovEdge, in the top 4% of women-owned businesses in the US, a 3-time Amazon bestselling author, Yale grad, wife and mom of three.