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Hold external meetings

April 16, 2020

In brief

Run interactive workshops

Set your goals

Successful workshops require a clear alignment on goals and outcomes. This is even more true when running a remote workshop.

Prepare and plan

Virtual workshops require more preparation compared to on-site workshops – account for double to triple the amount of planning and organization typically required.

Remember less is more

When planning activities, consider which techniques are most effective for achieving the desired outcome in each activity. Expect to cover about 1/3 of the activities that you would normally cover in a physical workshop and favor activities that can be done individually. Play music during the silent time!

Plan for interactivity

If your workshop is interaction-heavy, consider the general rule of thumb of 1 facilitator to 6 participants. If a large audience is expected for your workshop, use breakouts.

Use the right tools for the job

When selecting tools to support your workshop, make sure they let participants communicate in real-time and asynchronously if needed. Tools should also help share content, stay organized, and think visually. Make sure you and your workshop support team understand how your tools will work with each other.

Show and tell

Using a collaboration tool like Microsoft Whiteboard is key for engaging participants.

Schedule sessions and breaks

Attention spans tend to wander around the 2-4 hours mark. If possible, consider scheduling segments of the workshop across multiple days or weeks.

Conduct remote board meetings

Set up security for confidential materials

Create a team with restricted access and nominate someone to closely monitor access.

Save final files in a secure place

Save key collateral such as presentations and meeting minutes in a secure repository and dedicate one channel for housing it. The planning team can use a separate channel for sharing and collaborating on draft agendas and meeting materials.

Make sure you have guest access

Check your organization’s Teams licensing for guest access to make sure you can invite external participants and prospects to join your Teams channels and meetings.

Limit the chat function

When setting up your Teams conference call, clarify that participants should not use the chat functionality during meetings in order to help avoid record-keeping issues, and consider disabling it if possible. All directors should have the opportunity to speak and participate during calls.

Check connectivity beforehand

Make it as easy as possible for your directors to access documents and join the call. Have the planning team reach out to individual directors ahead of the meeting to check on potential connectivity issues and answer questions on how to access files and meetings.

Share pre-read materials

Pre-read materials can be shared using Director-specific folders within Teams with defined access rights, aligned with best practices in data security.

Identify two facilitators for live sessions

When conducting a live session, it is ideal to have two internal facilitators: one to oversee the session and the other to capture meeting minutes.

Engage with board members

Use interactive techniques and screenshare presentations to help participants easily follow along.

Sell virtually

Rally your sales team

Create an internal Teams channel to share files related to sales opportunities and RFPs. Collaborate to co-create responses, sales decks and meeting agendas.

Track sales

Integrate with PowerBI’s dashboard capabilities to track sales and opportunity pipelines.

Do a run-through

Before any high-stakes, externally-facing sales meeting, practice running the meeting several times in advance with your team—something that is especially important when selling virtually.

Set up for success

Share files like your meeting agenda, sales deck or other pre-read materials prior to your meeting, then post action items and follow up activities once your meeting is complete.

Read the room

Set expectations that all meeting participants join by video. This is critical to reading the body language and spatial cues of your prospects when you cannot be in the room.

Get feedback

Use the Form application to poll your audience before, during or after your meeting. For example, consider conducting a needs assessment before a sales meeting with prospects.

Meet the team

Eva Sage-Gavin

Senior Managing Director – Talent & Organization

Keith Lippiatt

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Technology

Florin Rotar

Executive, Global Modern Workplace Lead – Avanade & Accenture Microsoft Business Group