“I See What You’re Saying” – Working with Visuals in Virtual Meetings

In this guest post, Michael Randel, Director of Randel Consulting Associates, shares a case study using a video conference and web-meeting tool to support a retreat with teams in Washington DC and DR Congo.

Virtual meetings make it easy for people located in different places to interact with one another.  There is a trade-off though – while we gain in ease of communicating (whether through an audio-conference, a video-conference, or a live webinar), we lose the richness of the multi-dimensional feedback we use in our face-to-face interactions.

This is changing.  No longer do we have to put up with the limited channels of communication offered by traditional virtual meetings.  We now have the ability to combine various tools to create a richer communication environment, supplementing verbal interaction with visual displays that can reflect real-time developments in meetings.

One way of doing this is to use web-meeting tools to complement the verbal interaction.  This provides a visual display that can mimic the role of a flipchart in traditional meeting rooms, such as showing the agenda, capturing discussions and reports, and displaying plans as they are developed.  This helps equalize participation, as all participants in the meeting have the same ‘view’ of information, and increases opportunities for shaping the content of these displays.

Read more about a case study of how we helped one client hold a team retreat, even though team members were in two locations with a six hour time difference.

Michael Randel, is the Director of Randel Consulting Associates.  Michael, a Certified Professional Facilitator, is a learning and organizational development professional who supports the effectiveness of individuals, teams and organizations. He has worked with clients from the private, public and non-profit sectors in more than twenty countries.

Photo Credit: Michael Randel