The Importance of Virtual Facilitation

It takes time to design and conduct an online workshop that is efficient and takes into account the difficulties that can arise when working remotely. But the process needs to be flexible, and the ability to change the course in the moment is just as important for virtual facilitation (the person who ensures the session runs smoothly and actively engages participants) as it is in-person.

A successful online workshop or meeting requires an appropriate balance of sharing information, group discussions and engagement activities. Also, it must address the logistical concerns like poor technology, time management, and note-taking. It is often the virtual facilitator to be responsible for all of these things which can be challenging and stressful, especially if the meetings are not properly run or are not effective.

Virtual facilitation is becoming increasingly popular as groups work remotely and organizations have to cope with the demands for flexible meetings. It’s a technique that is best acquired through experience, and is similar to in-person facilitation, but with the additional problem of keeping remote participants in the loop and energized throughout the entire session.

Multiple studies highlighted the necessity of tailoring VF to the organization’s unique structure and culture. Fox et al. emphasized this, by providing facilitators with guidelines for a minimum number virtual facilitation interactions per center. Other studies, including Malone and co., and Hartmann et al. included a training component for internal facilitators which focused on enhancing their capacities and skills that are specifically related to virtual facilitation.

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