With more people working from home, we have lost valuable connection points. During this time, we need connections more than ever. The solution is not to have more meetings. The solution is to Make Meetings Effective!
I’ve been teaching organizations how to make every meeting effective for over 10 years! All effective meetings start with the 4 P’s; Purpose, Product, Participants, and Plan. Every meeting whether it be virtual or in-person needs to be clear of the 4P’s to be successful. The 4 P’s; are the foundations of every effective meeting.
Team Building Online
Recently I have been challenged to successfully facilitate highly experiential training and collaborative problem-solving workshops using virtual conferencing software such as Zoom, Google Hang Out, Canvas, Microsoft Teams, etc. Guess what… It worked! Guess why….Clarity on The 4 P’s. The P’s of many of these workshops are as follows:
- Purpose – Develop the tools and skills to work better together.
- Discussion of virtual and online challenges and opportunities
- Understanding the software
- Increase connection and trust
- Build the foundation for productive conflict in a new environment
- Participants – The stakeholders vary but this works best with a team. A team is a group of individuals working together toward a common goal.
- Plan – My agenda usually starts with a “warm-up activity,” then we debrief the activity, capture lessons learned, and apply the lessons to a work task. For instance, if our meeting goal is to “come to a consensus on ground rules and expectations,” when we debrief the warm-up activities we discuss how ground rules were created in the activity and how to be more effective moving forward.
Starting with a “warm-up activity” is akin to teaching a new skier on an easy green run. Once the skier learns a skill for the easy run then the instructor has them practice on more difficult terrain.
Virtual Teaming Activities
I utilize simple activities I am comfortable with in-person and modify them for the Virtual Platform. This is all part of the Plan. Some of those activities are below. (If you have any questions, I can explain…)
- Goal – For the group to “celebrate success”
- Choose a representative. This representative will be the only person allowed to chat with the facilitator.
- Put all participants on mute
- Participants can only chat with the facilitator.
- Without using group chat or voice the task is for the group to order themselves by the of the day, month, but not the year they were born.
- Once the representative chats the correct order to the facilitator, unmute participants to celebrate.
- Mute a participant
- Chat them a word to act out
- The rest of the group must guess the word
Break Out Rooms Check In
- Use Zoom breakout rooms to put the group into diads, triads, or quads.
- Use break out room conversation to solve a puzzle.
- Goal – The group must navigate one participant through a series of activities “blindfolded”
- Have one participant go to a kid’s game site.
- Have the participant share their screen
- “Blindfold” the participant by having them turn down the brightness on their screen.
Chat Window Count down
- Goal – Use the Chat window to go from A-Z
- Cant talk during A-Z. If the group has to restart, the group can talk until the group agrees to start again with A.
- Must restart at A if:
- A letter is missed or repeated a letter
- One participant chats multiple letters in succession
Effective Meetings Wrapping Up
Just remember this tongue twister. “It is paramount the Participants and Plan support the Purpose of your meeting otherwise your meeting will not produce the Product.”
On a serious note, be clear on the Purpose and Product of every meeting. The meeting Plan must be intentional and support the purpose and goals. This is the foundation to create the conditions for a successful Effective Meeting!