As the tools and platforms used for a virtual meeting increase and expand with new features on a weekly basis, it is also true that people are becoming open to them, as well as more competent using them.
At this point, a video call is a no-brainer. Most people are adept at logging on, solving simple audio/visual challenges, and even sharing their screens. Chat is an easy and common way to communicate through virtual calls. More and more people are familiar and comfortable with breakout rooms and annotation features too.
The new frontier is moving way past a video call virtual meeting to being able to collaborate online together using a common platform. Mural, Mirro, Klaxoon, Vibe Boards, and IdeaBoardz are just a few of the more commonly used collaboration tools. It’s quite amazing to watch a skilled facilitator or leader guide a team through a virtual meeting using these tools.
Yet, the use of the collaboration tools doesn’t come without a cost. It takes time to learn them well, it takes time to set them up, and it takes time to get new users comfortable enough within the tool to use it in a meeting.
While there are some types of meetings that would be difficult to pull off without a sophisticated collaboration tool, such as a full-blown strategic planning session, I’m finding many meetings can be facilitated with just the basic tools. Sometimes it saves time and stress for everyone, to simply pull up a whiteboard or an Excel doc via shared screen… and it’s just as effective.
As we plan our virtual meetings and think about how we will gather and work with information together, we must decide what is the best tool in each situation.
The simplest ways to collaborate online are by using the tools we all have access to within our meeting platforms (i.e., Zoom, Teams). These include:
What is a sophisticated collaboration tool?
We have more tools and options than ever before. The more we all use them, the easier they will get and the more value we will get from them. Meanwhile, be thoughtful about which tools to use and when to use them. Keep in mind, just because you can use a more sophisticated collaboration tool, doesn’t mean you should.
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams and the Forward, community, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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