Leading Virtual Meetings for Real Results

For years, your organization has perfected project management, and you got pretty good at it. Then one day, you decided to execute a project using a distributed team. Eleven time zones, three languages, five countries. Managing the virtual meetings was a nightmare squared. People no-showed, the wrong people attended, misunderstandings flourished, confusion reigned. Would you like to get better at leading virtual meetings?

In some fields, Great session! It should be required for any project team with virtual aspects, from sponsor on down. Thanks very much!
—Linda Breckenridge
virtual teams are now more common than the old-fashioned face-to-face teams. Everything about virtual teams is more difficult than face-to-face teams — most especially, meetings. Virtual meetings are more difficult to schedule, more difficult to run, and take longer to do even the simplest things.

Leading Virtual Meetings for Real Results

It's a big, big world, and it looks different to everyone

What's a virtual team? You'll find various definitions if you surf around a bit, but the main features of virtual meetings are what make them so difficult to manage — the people are dispersed geographically, they meet infrequently or never, and they come from different organizations. And these factors conspire to make what's usually easy, difficult — and what's usually difficult, impossible.

This program helps people who sponsor, lead, or participate in virtual meetings. Participants learn how to:

  • Classify the type of virtual meeting and anticipate its peculiar challenges
  • Understand the effects of crossing the boundaries of organizations, language, and culture
  • Deal with destructive virtual conflict
  • Avoid consuming meeting time for activities that can be handled elsewhere
  • Convey to participants that their presence is appreciated and needed
  • Estimate time requirements for virtual meetings
  • Enlist assistance from participants in making the meeting effective
  • Create a sense of teamwork among people who rarely (or never) meet

Participants Rick brought a fresh perspective with new solutions to universal issues with both virtual and face-to-face meetings
—Larry Livernois
learn to appreciate the true challenges of virtual meetings. Most important, they learn strategies and tactics for making the virtual environment productive and effective.

This program is available as a keynote, workshop, seminar, breakout, or clinic. For the shorter formats, coverage of the outline below is selective.

Comments from attendees

Linda Breckenridge
Great session. It should be required for any project team with virtual aspects, from the sponsor on down. Thanks very much!!
Larry Livernois
Rick brought a fresh perspective with new solutions to universal issues with both virtual and face-to-face meetings.
Anthony Holmes
Wow! A very thought-provoking subject, and I fear we only touched the tip of the iceberg.

Program structure and content

We learn Wow! A very thought-provoking presentation, and I fear we only scratched the "tip of the iceberg."
—Anthony Holmes
through presentation, discussion, exercises, simulations, and post-program activities. We can tailor a program for you that addresses your specific challenges, or we can deliver a tried-and-true format that has worked well for other clients. Participants usually favor a mix of presentation, discussion, and focused exercises.

Based on attendee interest, topics will include, for example:

  • Dealing with virtual conflict, both constructive and destructive
  • Techniques of remote facilitation
  • Virtual sidebars, interruptions, distractions, and inattention
  • Relationships and lack thereof
  • Agendas are not enough
  • Choosing a time to meet
  • Choosing substrate technologies: audio, video, and Internet
  • Language issues
  • Virtual negotiation
  • The importance of scheduling breaks
  • Tailoring exhibits for virtual meetings
  • Dealing with late arrivals and absentees
  • When power attends the meeting
  • When power attends the meeting incognito
  • Controlling attendance
  • Sarcasm and other risky communication patterns

Whether you're a veteran of virtual meetings, or a relative newcomer, this program is a real eye-opener.

Learning model

The full-day format of this program includes a copy of 303 Tips for Virtual and Global Teams for all participants and their supervisors. Ideal for those who like to supplement their learning by reading, or as a reference for later study. MoreWhen we learn most new skills, we intend to apply them in situations with low emotional content. But knowledge about how people work together is most needed in highly charged situations. That's why we use a learning model that goes beyond presentation and discussion — it includes in the mix simulation, role-play, metaphorical problems, and group processing. This gives participants the resources they need to make new, more constructive choices even in tense situations. And it's a lot more fun for everybody.

Target audience

Managers of global operations, sponsors of global projects, team leads, project managers and team members.

Program duration

Available formats range from 50 minutes to one full day. The longer formats allow for more coverage or more material, more experiential content and deeper understanding of issues specific to audience experience.

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What People Say About Rick's Programs
  • "Rick is a dynamic presenter who thinks on his feet to keep the material relevant to the group."
    — Tina L. Lawson, Technical Project Manager, BankOne (now J.P. Morgan Chase)
  • "Rick truly has his finger on the pulse of teams and their communication."
    — Mark Middleton, Team Lead, SERS
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