Whether by necessity or design, to keep projects moving most of us are now in a place where we have to run online meetings and workshops.
At Hart Square, we’ve now got 6 months’ experience of helping clients to gather requirements, review business processes, select new technology partners and implement new digital solutions in an online world, so felt it was time to share 10 top tips for running online workshops:
- Plan in Regular Breaks: Online sessions can be draining so planning in regular breaks is important especially if they are over 2 hours long. If possible, have a 5 minute stretch after an hour, but appreciate that a “5-minute stretch” can be a 10-minute break!
- Take Ownership: Direct your questions around attendees to avoid people feeling left out, and to give them all the opportunity to participate
- Be visible: Wherever possible, try to ensure that everyone has their camera on, to build that in-room feeling
- Be clear: Consider the lightning and avoid any distractions in the background (not always possible though)
- Get involved: Using the chat function for questions through the session is a great way for people to ask questions and get involved
- Record: Record the session, with all participants’ permission at the start, to allow you to review the session and refine your notes after
- Set clear agenda: Set objectives to allow the session to flow, but be flexible to move the agenda around as the session runs – and ensure the agenda is shared in advance
- Choose the right tool: e.g. Teams, Zoom, Skype, Google Meet. Understanding what works best for screen sharing, the chat function, and the number of people involved is critical for a smooth session
- Think Numbers: Decide on the optimum number of people (usually between 6 and 8) to allow everyone to participate and to ensure the right level of conversation can flow
- Stay calm!: Be prepared for technology disruptions and be ready for this to happen. The internet is overloaded, connection speeds are variable, and there’s little any of us can do about that!