Facilitating mixed physical and virtual meetings

virtual meeting

virtual meeting

Consultants Anon is one of the groups I’m facilitating and is going from strength to strength.

It is a non-profit making organisation and designed to keep a group of expert consultants in a wide range of fields at the cutting edge of thinking.

We have people involved from all over the UK and also in Europe.

Meeting physically is an option for some but we cannot get everyone to attend each meeting due to the distances involved.

We are playing with mixed physical and virtual meetings using skype video conferencing, this is what we have found so far:

  • Mixed physical and virtual meetings work well and increase the participation in the group
  • We have people present in a meeting room and virtual attendees using the Skype group video conferencing facility on a laptop.
  • As a facilitator I found you need to make an extra effort to mention the vitual member’s names when inviting comments as they find it hard to judge when to make a comment.
  • The cameras built into laptops are ok for 1:1 conferencing but not for group conferencing
  • Using external ball webcams works much better – better image resolution and the built in microphones give better sound for virtual members.
  • The speakers in laptops are surpisingly good and virtual members can make themselves heard.
  • The group video conferencing kept crashing on us and this was the main drawback

Our next meeting will bring virtual members in on individual laptops as this seems more stable for video conferencing.
If you are reading this from Skype please feel free to comment.

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