Like a physical EO Forum, a Virtual EO Forum meeting requires a thoughtful approach to place, time and format.
This guide is intended to walk the Moderator — the forum experience manager — through the considerations for an effective Virtual EO Forum experience.
If you have your own experience to share, please do so in the comments section below.
Pick a Platform
This is for information only, but in no way restricts the Forums to any one platform. Members who participate in Virtual EO Forum may have their personal preference. The key to making this meeting work is to ensure all participants have a reliable internet connection. Bad connections are a distraction for everyone and diminish the experience.
Popular apps to hold the meetings are listed below in the order of preference:
- Zoom — easiest, cheapest and effective
- Google Hangouts Meet
- Adobe Connect Pro
- Cisco Webex
Set Frequency, Timing, Logistics
As a best practice, all Forums should hold 4-hour monthly meetings. Virtual EO Forum meetings, however, average about 2 hours, and range from 1.5 and 2.5 hours. Therefore, consider holding more frequent Virtual EO Forum — every 2 weeks for example. During the meeting, schedule at least two 10-minute breaks since focusing on one computer screen can be challenging over a long period of time.
A critical component is that the participants should be in a private space, with no interruptions for the duration of the meeting to maintain confidentiality and prevent distractions.
- Private room with the door closed/locked
- Use of laptop/computer required (no mobile devices)
- Use of headsets required (no speakerphone)
- Use mute during 5% Reflections and Deep-dives
- Plugin laptop/computer and turn off screen saver & power saver mode
- Ensure continuous video Conference (video & audio)
- No touching keyboard/mouse during meeting
- No phones or other technology running
- Timekeeper should manage time on a phone and display for Presenter
Remember, as a moderator you set & manage the forum experience for your members. That means helping them all find a private space with a consistently viable internet connection. Prior to your first meeting, it may help to hold a “tech check” session with your forum mates and walk through the best practices.
Set the Agenda
Timing is a critical function for an effective meeting. The appointment of a meeting manager is recommended, in addition to the moderator. The emphasis for the manager is to maintain schedule, while the moderator will manage interaction.
Below are sample 2.5 hour agenda for you to copy/paste into your calendar invite:
-05 min | Connect
15 min Check-in
60 min | 5% Reflections
8 x (3 min share, 30 sec breathe, 4 min capture)
Focus on significance, impact, and feelings
Email to forum 24 hours prior
05 min | Break
45 min | Deep Dive (Coached)
Coach Intro — think of a time (2 min)
Member Share (10 min)
Questions — optional (5 min)
Draft Experience (2 min)
Moderator Reminder (1 min)
Experience Share (3×7=21 min)
Take-home Value — presenter last (4 min)
10 min | Parking Lot
Select Next Coached Deep Dive
12 min | Housekeeping
Future meetings, retreat planning, membership, debrief
02 min | One word close
5% Reflections should be completed and circulated the day before the meeting, so that participants can review the submissions prior to the meeting, allowing more active listening to the “significance” component during each participant’s turn. This is where the value lies and thus will allow other participants to listen for additional deep dive opportunities. To keep attention levels high, allow a 30-second “breather” between turns to allow participants to refresh attention between speakers, by shifting and reengaging.
Are We Clear?
Current virtual Forum participants stress the value of holding a clearing round. As an addition to the agenda, there is an option to hold a clearing session at the beginning AND at the end of the meeting. Since attendees are not physically together, it easier to decide not to share a concern. Providing two opportunities increases the likelihood that participants will share.