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Although video-conference software has been around since 1930, most of us used virtual meeting platforms sporadically (and only if forced to do so) until early 2020 when “zoom” became a verb—much like “google” replaced “search” in 2006.
Many of us have been a part of virtual meetings that use Zoom breakout rooms, Teams reactions, Google’s Jamboard, chat waterfalls, and a zillion other tech bells and whistles, but it’s the skilled facilitation that makes a meeting memorable.
That’s where folks like Leap Ambassadors Beth Kanter and Debra Natenshon come in. At the Leap Ambassadors 2021 Convening, these seasoned facilitators gave a behind-the-scenes look at how to structure a virtual meeting so that great conversations happen, no matter where you are. Through demonstration and hands-on exercises, participants learned the ins and outs of Zoom and other technology tools.
But Kanter and Natenshon also transparently provided “meta views” of techniques and activities that went far beyond how-to technology instructions. Linking the tech features to good facilitation practices results in greater connection among participants. Here are three of their takeaways:
In another session at the Leap Ambassadors 2021 Convening, Janeen Comenote also emphasized how relationships contribute to a community’s ecosystem. She said, “Indigenous peoples believe that everything in life is predicated on relationships. We all have a responsibility to maintain and nurture those relationships. We also have a responsibility to reciprocate these relationships within our communities, and we see this reciprocation reflected in nature. A healthy ecosystem is circular so that one thing is feeding the next. And finally, we have a responsibility to redistribute everything—from knowledge to wealth.”
There’s no doubt that virtual technology tools will improve and that’s a good thing. But the importance of strong facilitation skills won’t diminish, especially for virtual meetings.
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