I have recently been facilitating a few virtual meetings using Skype and they have gone rather well.
For example in one meeting we had 15 people in the “room” from several locations in Europe and picked up on a few learning points I’d like to share:
- The first thing was not to assume that the time was the same for everyone, central Europe was an hour ahead of the UK and this needed to be made clear in setting up the meeting.
- If people call you on Skype while the meeting is in progress you place one call on hold while you answer the other call and this can confuse people.
- As facilitator, you can save a lot of confusion by making it clear that you will call everyone and bring them in to the meeting.
- The technology enables people to join in from smart phones such as the iPhone. This is fine but I have found that people are less likely to be aware of the background noise which can overwhelm the meeting – ask people to mute their microphone when not talking. This solves that problem.
- One of our members could not get the microphone to work. Keep an eye on the messaging facility (IM) because we brought this person into the conversation by asking questions on their behalf.
- Copy and paste the IM record into a word processor as once you have closed the virtual meeting call you will lose all messages. This helps the note taking.
- Oh and finally if you are facilitating make sure you have the latest version of Skype. you can tolerate version differences if you are a member but if you are the facilitator of the call it can cause call dropouts and interrupt the flow.