Blog FPO

Leveraging Technology in Virtual Facilitations

We have entered a “new normal” where much of our facilitation work is being done in the virtual environment. This leads to new challenges and barriers, but also opportunity. There are a vast number of options of new or under-utilized technologies we can begin to leverage.

Some of the challenges experienced in virtual sessions are similar to those dealt with during in-person sessions. Ensuring all voices are heard and keeping participants on task is a common challenge in both scenarios. However, our tactics for managing these challenges is different in a virtual session and can be managed utilizing available technologies. Keeping participants engaged in a virtual facilitated session is a unique challenge given all the external distractions the facilitator is unable to manage and control. One tactic to address this challenge is to utilize the chat features and to have a co-facilitator continually engaging and asking probing questions.

Another is to utilize the reactions (thumbs up, clapping, check, etc.) feature in the various platforms, like zoom.  This can ensure participants know you are expecting feedback and engagement during the session. Ensuring all perspectives or voices are heard in the virtual space can also look differently utilizing technology. One way is to utilize breakout rooms or the annotate feature, giving participants a smaller group to share in as well as giving them the opportunity to type in their own words with their feedback and ideas.

Some challenges are different in virtual sessions. For example, not having easel pads or a sticky wall to compile and organize participant ideas is a unique challenge during virtual sessions. There are a variety of web base programs that can serve as a whiteboard, sticky wall or easel pad. Mural and Miro are two of my favorites, with options for blank whiteboards or pre-made templates to guide participants through decision-making virtually.

Another unique challenge in virtual sessions is documentation. Capturing the work, particularly small group work can be difficult. Google docs has been a great and easy way to provide a template for capturing breakout room insights as well as large group decisions. Allowing all participants access and the ability to see the work created together like you would with ideas being recording on easel pads. Overall, engaging with participants virtually requires a leveraging of various technologies.

Below is a list of common virtual facilitation challenges as well as the corresponding technology that can assist the facilitator in overcoming that challenge. While we recognize this is not a complete list of all available technologies, these are examples below that Event Garde has utilized and found success with. 

I encourage you to use view this time as a time of growth and an opportunity to stretch yourself. If you need help with navigating the virtual environment reach out to our team.

Digital Transformation: It’s All About Culture

Digital transformation has been a hot topic for years, yet associations are still struggling to make it happen. Why is that? In our new whitepaper, we posit that it's not so much the technology part that's holding us back, it's culture, and more specifically, intentional culture change. Learn how to get that right and propel your association forward.

Read More >
By: Kate Pojeta | Mar, 26 2021
Technology

Juggling Multiple Projects, Events, People, Tasks or Any Other Inordinate Amount of Information

Information overload is no joke. We are constantly inundated with details, lists, tasks, content of all sorts. In today's world of ever-changing and constantly advancing technologies, how can you stay on top of it all? 

Read More >

Your Website is (Likely) Non-Compliant

Is your website ADA compliant? Can someone get from your main event page all the way through the registration process without barriers? How do you know? Run your website - either your association, organization or event site through a free online accessibility tool. Then work to correct areas of non-compliance with your web developer or designer.

Read More >

Virtual Events - Beyond the Platforms

Virtual event platforms seem to be everywhere, yet there still is no one-size-fits-all solution. And we can't expect there to be. Every event is unique and has its own needs, whether it's in-person, hybrid or virtual. So as event planners, we cannot assume one platform will check all of our boxes. There are, though, MANY add-on virtual pieces we can snag to create a unique event - most of these will work with most platforms. Here's a list of some of the best virtual add-ons we've used, tested or are looking forward to digging into more.

Read More >
By: Kate Pojeta | Mar, 5 2021
Technology

A Virtual Conference Without a Virtual Platform

As 2020 was wrapping up, and association executives had seen their fair share of virtual event platforms, the Michigan Society of Association Executives wanted to go back to basics for their January operations conference. They recognized that many of their association members were struggling to balance the expense of virtual event platforms with the income from virtual event registrations. Here's how it went.

Read More >

Renovating Your Strategic Plan Virtually - Part 1: Understanding the Basics

Most associations view strategic planning as a necessary evil and cringe when the three years are up and it’s time to do another plan. Over time Boards can become jaded and skeptical of the strategic planning process, “We waste time and money on developing a plan and it never goes anywhere”. If this sounds familiar, your association is starting with an ineffective plan and/or flawed process to implement. This 3-part series will help you renovate your strategic plan so volunteers can once again get excited about the process and see actual results.

Read More >