How Expert Facilitators Run Great Zoom Meetings in Rhythm

By Jessica Wishart

virtual meetings

dateMon, Jan 17, 2022 @ 11:04 AM

If you had told our team of expert facilitators this time last year that they would be doing 90% of their strategic facilitation work remotely, they wouldn't have believed you. Our consulting team is used to traveling non-stop and having dinner with clients in a different city every week. While they may miss seeing our clients in person, they have all been surprised by how effective the move to virtual planning has been.
However, I wasn't surprised that these consultants were able to pivot seamlessly to virtual planning sessions. I think it's a combination of two things: the right experience and the right tools. Our team has been facilitating weekly meetings or software training sessions for clients remotely for almost 15 years! Our own team has been a hybrid of remote and in-office workers since our company started. We know what it takes to have an engaging and effective virtual meeting. Plus, we have one of the best tools for managing a remote meeting out there - Rhythm software.
Here are some expert tips for facilitating a great meeting using the Rhythm software:
  1. Prepare well. Spend time thinking about why you are having the meeting, who needs to be there, and what you will accomplish together. Map out the agenda, and include your best estimate for how long you'll spend on each topic.
  2. Get everything organized in advance. Use the Meeting record in Rhythm as your "home base." Capture the agenda - with your time estimates - here, and include links to any supporting documents, tools or screens in Rhythm that you'll need in your meeting. This way, you aren't fumbling through all your windows and tabs, trying to find the next place you want the team to look while you're sharing your screen.
  3. Communicate in advance. Don't just shoot out a calendar invite. Share the agenda and let the team know how to prepare for a great meeting. Also share the ground rules in advance for how you expect them to participate in the remote meeting - video on, mute unless they are speaking, etc.
  4. Start with an icebreaker. Get the team engaged from the start. Do a simple round of sharing good news, or mix it up with something else so it doesn't feel stale. Here are some zoom icebreakers to help you out.
  5. Use the right tool for the job. Depending on what your goal is for the meeting, ensure you choose the right tools or visuals to support reaching that goal. Here are a few examples:
    1. Brainstorming. If you are solving a problem and brainstorming ideas - 20 ways to increase revenue, for example - use the Ideas board on your meeting in Rhythm. This is a great way to get the ideas out, and then you can rank them and vote on which ones you want to test out.
    2. Weekly Meeting. Let dashboards guide the discussion. If you're in a weekly meeting, really drill in on discussions for goals that are Red or Yellow. Explore the different views to see what the data tells you; use the 13-week race view to see if the goal has been stuck for multiple weeks, or use the Energy Map view to see if the supporting goals are also off-track to pinpoint where the issues in execution are happening. Be curious and use the data as your guide. The virtual format is actually terrific for drilling into the details and looking at your detailed execution together.
    3. Strategic Planning. Spend time reviewing the Strategy Summary screen so you can anchor to your Core Purpose and BHAG before jumping into your revenue-generating winning moves discussions. Use the tool to prompt you to choose the best ideas, and then capture your assumptions right there on each strategic goal.
  6. Capture the follow up. If it is too much for you as the facilitator, assign someone else in the meeting to capture the follow up tasks. When you are discussing and agreeing on next steps or potential solutions, capture those as Actions in Rhythm so ensure you know who is going to do what by when. This way, you don't leave the meeting and forget about the follow up.
If you're already doing most of these things and are still struggling with effective remote meetings, let us help you. Our team of experts are the best at virtual meeting facilitation, and we'd love to help your team.
Doing Planning Virtually? Explore Your Options

Jessica Wishart


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images