You have to run an online meeting, it’s daunting, you dread it. But you’re pulling yourself together because Hebrews 10:25 tells us to, “not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
You look to the ceiling and choose to obey.
Different rules apply when you gather via video conferencing versus in person. So how can you disciple without the clarity of face to face interaction? In order to help you establish an engaging and productive environment for spiritual conversation, we collected a list of 10 golden rules for you!
- Meeting essentials
The best online meetings include three essentials: connection, collaboration and feedback. Maintaining these essentials will make participants feel engaged while keeping the meeting productive. Solutions in the market that support these three points include Zoom and Hangouts.
- Invite the right people
It’s difficult to hold a meeting with a large number of participants, due to the capabilities of the technology and everyone’s ability to contribute to the conversation. 1-10 people is a good number, but we would also warn against including everyone in every meeting, as they would end up just staying silent.
- Plan the agenda and share in advanceGathering online takes effort, so don’t waste time during the meeting. Have a plan with specific items to cover and stick to the plan. It is better to share the agenda ahead of time to those who will participate, so that everyone can come prepared.
- Prepare a shared space
A shared space includes flip charts, chats, shared screens, or shared online whiteboard. A combination of different shared spaces influence remote presence in a meeting. Make it a habit to go online at least 5 minutes early to set up.
- Develop rules of the road
Whether it’s a one on one, a brainstorm, or a recurring meeting, set up the rules and share it at the start of your meeting. Uncontrollable meetings are neither engaging, nor productive. Examples of some best practices:
– Act with love, respect and out of a servant heart.
– Be attentive to one another.
– Limited speaking time to prevent anyone from dominating.
- Connect deeper
Don’t miss a chance to catch up with each other and make their presence felt in the room. They can be questions that elicit profound answers or fun games that help the group connect through laughter.
- Give people things to do
Split the roles between attendees: facilitator, timekeeper and scribe to write down main points and decisions made. This helps involve participants in the meeting. In recurring meetings, change the roles by using a game, so nobody knows who will be the blessed timekeeper or scribe.
- Be engaging
Meetings are tough to sit through. Since you’ve already put the work into organising a great meeting, make it interesting with lively interaction, good visuals and music!
- Ask participants to contribute
Reaching out to everyone in the meeting or asking specifically for their contributions is a good way to get people involved. Here are few examples of such engaging hooks.
• What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?
• What is one thing that stands out to you the most?
• What are some obstacles?
• What are you going to do about it?
• What was the most applicable to you?
- Check out action items are in progress
It’s vital in remote discipleship that you get clear objectives. Discuss them as a result of the meeting, send follow-up texts to check-in, pray and encourage. Otherwise, what was the point?
The biggest challenge is to keep people engaged and interested. We hope that you’ll be able to overcome this challenge using the tips above. It’s also important to plan according to your attendees’ needs, so have an adventurous spirit and give your own solutions a try!