Guides to managing virtual meetings

While it can look complicated – virtual meetings can be run using basic meeting best practices and easy-to-use, inexpensive technology. (c) Can Stock Photo / alphaspirit

Virtual meeting doesn’t just offer opportunities for dispersed teams, it can also be effective in linking more loosely connected networks that might typically only come together for live events like workshops and seminars. Moving to online versions of what are usually highly interactive situations with large numbers of people involves some process adjustment. This can include staging a series of short topic-based interactions over weeks rather than a single one-off. This time spread has the added benefit of building capacity for discussion over time and steadily embedding new ideas in the real context of the participants. Initially challenging – this building of creativity and capability in virtual meeting is likely to be of great long-term benefit to all kinds of networks.

These recent posts look to provide guidance on how to set up effective virtual meetings with distributed team members – from virtual teams and just when staff are working from home some of the time. [Note: see related information and links around –Facilitation tools and techniques and Managing virtual teams.]

The ultimate guide to remote meetings in 2020
This post from Deanna deBara on the slack website provides a short guide showing how to set up effective virtual meetings with distributed team members. It covers a range of meeting aspects – logistics, process, culture and technologies.

What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting
In this 2020 post from Bob Frisch and Cary Greene remind us that “virtual meetings” — even impromptu one’s sparked by fears of a contagion — can be run more effectively, using basic meeting best practices and easy-to-use, inexpensive technology. They then go on to provide a 12 step guide you can use to make that happen.

Leading groups online
This guide by Jeanne Rewa and Daniel Hunter has been developed as a down-and-dirty guide to leading online courses, meetings, trainings, and events during the coronavirus pandemic. They walk you through the basics of how to lead sessions online. They give you their top 10 principles for leading online groups, introduce you to interactive tools you can lead online, and answer commonly asked questions.

The definitive guide to facilitating remote workshops
This ebook has been brought together by the folks at MURAL providing insights, tools and case studies from digital-first companies and expert facilitators. Provides a sense of how teams, tools and techniques can be merged together to support imaginative outcomes. Very practical and a good place to start. Check out the MURAL blog for other useful resources.

Zoom training resources
Zoom has always provided a rich suite of training resources to help you get started. They have recently added this page to help you most effectively use Zoom as we all navigate the coronavirus pandemic. They offer more than 30 free training sessions every week, including Getting Started with Zoom Meetings, which is their 30-minute, condensed basic training session providing a quick intro to Zoom. Their blog guides cover a range of key use areas: i) effective remote working; ii) educating over Zoom; iii) hosting virtual events; and iv) telehealth. ZDnet also provides a good starting guide Zoom 101: A starter guide for beginners, plus advanced tips and tricks for pros.

It’s time for next-generation remote collaboration
Here’s a fresh guide to “next-generation” online collaboration tools and practices by Matt Stempeck of Civic Tech.  As he says, “We know that digital participation can feel lacking compared to the real life alternative. But for at least the next few months, if not longer, many people and organizations are going to shift to virtual meetings for a range of activities, including staff huddles, workshops, trainings, and larger events like conferences. So, here’s an annotated guide to some digital participation tools and platforms that can help.”

A comprehensive list of tips, tools, and examples for event organizers during the Coronavirus outbreak
In this posting David Spinks provides a compilation of the best advice and tools from the CMX (professional community builders) community and from other conference organizers about what to do and how to keep your community engaged over the next several months. Also provides a great listing of potential virtual platforms/tools to experiment with.

Online Community Toolkit
Thinking about building or hosting an online community? Looking for specific tips, tools and ideas? Start here with this toolkit developed and maintained by Nancy White – updated in the face of coronavirus. This resource covers facilitation techniques, on-line tools, courses and case studies.

Toward a new normal? Rethinking the place of face to face meetings in a challenged world: options and opportunities
With COVID-19 disrupting plans for a range of meetings, from local conferences to global trade shows, well into the middle of 2020 Phil Hadridge polls the literature and his networks to discover best practice and new ideas. When thinking how far it is possible to shift meetings to online formats, there are some clear principles and pointers as well as things to prototype and also ponder.

10 Strategies for Virtual Meetings That Win
This 2019 article by Yael Zofi reminds us that the challenge in virtual meetings is the difficulty in maintaining clear, concise communication among team members. The article provides 10 specific actions to improve the effectiveness of virtual meetings.

How to Run a Great Virtual Meeting
This 2015 article by Keith Ferrazzi provides a useful list of some simple do’s and don’ts to help you get the most out of your next virtual meeting. [Its an older post – pre today’s faster videoconferencing technologies – but still has some good pointers to looking after the people involved in the meeting.]


This resource should be used in conjunction with the related pages – Managing virtual teams and  Facilitation tools and techniques. Other closely related sections in the site include: the Team building, communities of practice (COPs) and learning groups and Cross-sector partnerships and collaborations. The risk communication and engagement page also has links to a number of resources which are also aligned to responding to coronavirus.