Coronavirus: an opportunity to do more, and better, virtual events 

Virtaul network of people

Coronavirus could really shift the way some work is done because if work can be done without commuting, then that is the way it might have to happen in the very near future.

If this is the case, then organisations should view it as an opportunity to rethink the face to face event that fills the calendars of many office workers – the meeting.

The opportunity here is to rethink the meeting so that it works really well online. Don’t just replicate what you do face to face online because it won’t work. It doesn’t even work face to face half of the time. This is a chance to ditch the meeting elements that don’t work and start to introduce ways of running meetings to make them more effective.

That means:

  • Being clear on who needs to be there and why
  • Having a workable agenda – what is the desired outcome for the meeting?
  • Being clear on what input is expected from the people who are attending
  • Having a note-taker who shares the outputs and actions
  • Having a facilitator who can guide the meeting and ensure it meets its objectives

As it is virtual, you have the opportunity to play to the strengths of the technology. That means:

  • Using cameras and chat
  • Taking polls
  • Collaborating on documents

But remember not to make assumptions about colleagues’ experience of using online meeting tools. As a facilitator of the meeting you need to know how to use the tools and be able to walk people through using them too. I’d keep it simple and don’t be led by tech features that might just add noise to your meeting.

Keep accessibility in mind too. Make sure you understand the access needs of the people you are inviting to the meeting.

A final thought is to consider connectivity. Workplace bandwidth is usually generous and consistent. That’s not always the case at home so make sure you factor that in.