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The 145 best practices in this E-book are based on research of blended learning and virtual classroom best practices, over 20 years’ experience researching virtual and remote team effectiveness, and practical experience leading hundreds of virtual meetings, webinars, workshops and virtual classroom experiences across the globe using numerous platforms.
Effective virtual meetings, like any meeting, require clear meeting goals and agendas; mutually agreed upon roles, responsibilities and expectations; effective meeting processes and facilitation; and development of strong team relationships.
As we consider effective virtual meeting practices and appropriate technology, it is also important to consider virtual meetings in the context of collaboration technologies that enable virtual teams and organizations.
Virtual Meeting technology is only one of the collaboration technologies, and it is important to clearly identify when and why virtual meetings, audio conferences and instant messaging (Same Time, Different Place) should be used when compared to face-to-face meetings (Same Time, Same Place) or when asynchronous communications (Email, websites, shared online workspaces, online discussion groups) should be employed.
While most of the BEST practices included in this book are platform independent, some of the features discussed are only available on certain Virtual Meeting or Virtual Classroom solutions. We have included examples from WebEx, Adobe Connect, Saba and a few other platforms. Several of proposed activities are extracted from our “Building Effective Virtual and Remote Teams Handbook (2011)” where they are described in more step-by-step detail.
In this book, we focus on best practices for the Planning and Design, Delivery and Facilitation of Virtual Meetings.
We will also discuss a number of other collaboration technologies such as the ones illustrated above, and offer recommendations of when they are best to employ (see Chapters 12 and 13 in this book).
Virtual collaboration tools and the virtual meeting have become a basic requirement for corporate and public service organizations. Experienced team leaders and facilitators can achieve the following benefits with Virtual Meeting technologies:
- Avoidance of travel costs
- Increased organizational productivity
- Increased accessibility of meeting documentation
- Interactivity and collaboration
- Ability to generate and share data
- Integration with virtual learning solutions
- Just in time meeting scheduling, coordination
- Global reach
- Instant recording
- Ease of reporting and analysis
The overall goal of these best practices is to help ensure an effective virtual meeting experience for the participants, ensure the meeting objectives are accomplished and that the meeting is highly effective and achieves the expected benefits as discussed above.