Effective design for liberated virtual group meetings

The following table, from Liberating Structures.com (Alex Dunne), provides a helpful checklist for liberating a virtual meeting.


1 Are you inviting participants to shape next steps? Will you develop solutions, make action plans, or produce something together? Re-consider why you're meeting. Dig deeper into what you need from participants to make progress. Using interactive virtual technology for sharing information is reliably unrewarding for all. Proceed
2 Will content or new information be provided +24-hours in advance? Don't waste group time reviewing homework. Set the firm expectation that everyone come prepared. Honor participants by giving enough prep time. Proceed
3 Have you drafted the questions for themes to be explored & specific invitations to participants? Without preparation it is much more difficult to include everyone, spark creative participant, and generate better-than-expected results. Proceed
4 Will you be using subgroups to explore the topic in-depth? Does your platform support it? (e.g., chat, breakout rooms, white boards). Dig deeper and reconsider. Most complex challenges benefit from multiple perspectives and diverse action ideas. Breaking out reduces groupthink and improves ownership + follow through. Proceed
5 Will it be possible for each person for formulate/refine their ideas individually & in pairs before sharing with the whole group? Re-consider until you find a way to build safety, spread trust, and dampen power differences. Fear is a novelty killer. Sorting & sifting 1-2-4-All-wise speeds up the generation of high quality solutions that stick. Proceed
6 Are you ready to facilitate with very rapid cycles and make changes on-the-fly as better possibilities pop into view. When liberating virtual meetings, practice makes perfect. Have a co-leader or partner to help make big shifts & agenda changes. A well-developed plan prepares you for productive improvisations. Proceed
7 Are you prepared for someone participating only by phone (with loud background noise) or for the collaborative technology to fail miserably? Someone will inevitably end-up dialing in from their mobile <sign>. Send them the meeting record. There will be hiccups and outright failures. Rather than muddling through, consider rescheduling when the technology is working. Proceed with abandon
Last modified: Friday, 2 December 2016, 3:14 PM