More Experiences With Mixed Virtual / Physical Groups

We are getting the hang of facilitating mixed virtual and physical groups.

We are innovating with small but significant incremental improvements.

Tick Box - created by Rawich

Tick Box - created by Rawich

This group has people who attend physically, we also have people attending from all over the UK and also from Continental Europe.

Readers of this blog will know that we have tried video conferencing, and played with telepresence with mixed success.

We have come to the conclusion that the off the shelf technology (Skype)  is not quite up to the task at the moment.

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We still want to involve people and give them a meaningful two way communication between those present in the room

What worked this time

  • We abandoned video conferencing and pre-prepared virtual attendees so they knew it would be voice only
  • We used two facilitators:
    • one to manage the room(F1)
    • a second person managed the virtual attendees (F2)
  • We used the Skype  instant messaging facility for virtual members to communicate with their facilitator (F2) in the room
  • At appropriate times F2 helped draw attention to comments made by the virtual attendees, then we turned up the sound on the laptop and let them speak for themselves to the room.

The benefits of this approach:

  • This made the people attending vitually feel included
  • The main facilitator (F1) could manage the flow of content in the room
  • The backup facilitator (F2) was the virtuals’ champion in the room and as respected by everyone.

We’ll continue making improvements and will tell you how it goes..

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3 thoughts on “More Experiences With Mixed Virtual / Physical Groups

  1. Have you every tried a product like Join.me to display your screens and still used a teleconference line?

    There are many products out there for conference call collaboration. But these have worked for me when dealing with clients that are not geographically convenient to travel to.

    • Hi Tim,

      Thanks for the comment I’d not heard of Join.me I’ll check it out.

      The problem with Skype seems to be that it hogs chunks of bandwidth for each video link in a conference call. We think this is why it trips out the internet connection at the conference suite we use.

      We’ll be posting more of our experiences

      Thanks for checking us out

      Adrian

  2. Adrian
    Thanks for sharing. It’s always good to know how fellow Facilitators are practicing our ‘dark art’!
    In the past we have found powwow now to be a very low cost, user friendly tool (for both phone & video conferencing + we have never experienced the bandwidth issue that using Skype brings info@powwownews.co.uk Please forgive me if you have mentioned using these in previous postings.Best regards Andy

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