In my last post, I shared how the Impact360 team uses Zoom and Miro for our virtual collaboration sessions. If it sounds like facilitating a virtual collaboration session might be tricky, that’s because it is! Similar to facilitating a meeting in person, there are many items to keep track of. They require a different kind of approach because it is happening online. While I am not new to facilitating virtual collaboration sessions, I’ve found that I still need a checklist. It reminds me of all the little things I should do to make sure everyone, including me, is taken care of.

I created this checklist for facilitating virtual collaboration sessions. It includes general reminders, first day reminders, middle day reminders, and last day reminders since we generally work in two-week increments. They are labeled pre-work (or before your first day), first, middle, and last, so they are adaptable to however long you need to work on your specific goal. For us, two-week increments are enough time to work together, but also not too much that we forget where we started. 

Each checkbox on the list serves as a small reminder of what you should consider each time you’re facilitating a virtual collaboration session. And it is completely adjustable based on the meeting and what you learn as time goes on.

The general reminders are useful to read before every session. They remind you to take care of yourself, give time for breaks and food, and to be mindful of the energy in the “room.” Also included are some techniques for keeping energy high and respecting different learning styles. For instance, assigning homework gives people a chance to process on their own and regain some energy. 

The pre-work reminders are what you should do ideally several days before your first scheduled session. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare all of the materials and make sure your participants are ready as well (For example, do they need a Miro tutorial?). For each session using the Miro Template Feature, I create a Master Miro Board. This is where I put everything we’re going to use and describe everything we are going to do. Having everything in one place helps me lead the session and provides participants with a way to easily follow along, especially if verbal instructions don’t work as well for them.

On the first day, I tend to schedule an hour and a half to have an energizer to kick things off. Then, I go over what goal(s) and outputs we’re working towards meeting, what to expect in the following sessions, and assign any homework to bring to the next session.

The middle days are usually filled with activities. It’s important to recap what you did and remind participants of the goals and outputs we’re working towards. Make sure to check in about any issues or challenges that are coming up.

On the last day, make sure you recap all that you accomplished throughout your session. Invite participants to share kudos and celebrate their teammates. You will also want to complete a retrospective to gather insights into how you can make virtual collaboration sessions better for everyone. Most of the information included in my checklist are beautiful nuggets of information my teammates gave me during our first few sessions at Impact360. You can use the I like, I wish, I wonder activity or do pluses (+) and deltas (△). After the retrospective, close with action items, and be very clear who is doing what and by when. 

When you’re ready, you will move onto a new goal or output, and then start back up in pre-work! Your first task should be to go over any changes you made as a result of the last retrospective. 
We hope that you find this checklist as helpful as we do. We invite you to share any tips you have for facilitating collaboration sessions! And feel free to use our templates if they work for you. Please let us know if you do. We’d love to hear from you.

Do you have a workshop that has been recently canceled? For a limited time, we are offering help to those in the natural hazards and disaster fields to assist you with guidance on how to run or design an online workshop. Contact us if you need support. Impact360 Alliance can help.

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