In today's blog post I wanted to share with you one of the Virtual Facilitation Tips I have been posting on Mondays for the last few weeks over at my sister blog for leaders, the Teams365 blog.
The tip I am sharing today is Tip #3 - the importance of creating trust, safety and connection in the virtual space. Without connection in the virtual space it is more likely that people will become more disengaged or they may multi-task. Similar to having "skin in the game" a peer conversation when we feel connected calls on us to contribute, as long as we feel safe to do so. As I expand in the book, the notion of "safety" groups and teams is being further validated by research.
Here's what I wrote a few weeks ago in Tip #3:
Effective Virtual Conversation Tip #3: Creating More Connection to Build Safety in Virtual Conversation Spaces
“Trust and connection are essential for creating a ‘safe’ space for conversations” – Jennifer Britton, Effective Virtual Conversations pp 95
Today’s Effective Virtual Conversation quote comes from page 95 of my new book. Just as with any in-person group or team process, trust and connection are essential for people to move into dialogue. The same holds true when you work with groups and teams virtually – in meetings, as virtual teams or in conference calls. What are the things you can do to create more connection and trust in your virtual space?
This week we will look at building more connection in your calls, and next Monday, at how to create more trust between, and with, participants. These two elements are critical for creating the safe space for an engaged call.
Five ways you may want to consider to build more connection in your virtual spaces are:
Let’s take a look at a couple of these – breakouts and introductions - in greater depth:
Breakouts – Today’s default in a lot of virtual events is “let me talk to you because it’s easier”. This is often where we lose people and they become disengaged. Using breakouts are an important way to get people connected with each other and sharing with each other. Check to see if your platform provides the ability to use breakouts, and have people move into smaller pairings of 2, 3 or 4. Some possible approaches to use when working with breakouts are:
Introductions can start before the event. This goes hand in hand with expectations. Let people know what they can expect around interactivity, particularly if you are planning to be more interactive. Introductions can involve:
A short pre-email sent out prior to your meeting sharing who you are, what you do, any goals they have and what’s important about the conversation. This can also be done verbally at the start of the program as well.
Introductions can also involve breakouts where two people introduce themselves to each other, and then the partner introduces them to the larger group. This can help especially if people are more shy to share personal details about themselves.
Introductions and connections with you, the facilitator, is also important. Consider how you will be connecting with people prior to the program - in writing and verbally.
As I go to close off today's EVC Tip - what are the steps you can undertake to boost more trust and connection in your work? Chapter 1 of Effective Virtual Conversations goes more into the TRIAD of virtual learning and how to foster trust, connection and safety.
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