Virtual meeting resources

design depicting virtual handshake

Get a (free!) virtual introduction to virtual collaboration in our webinar Virtual Collaboration: Tips and Tools this Thursday, April 9. Or learn and try out best practices in next Thursday’s webinar Virtual Collaboration Deep Dive.

book cover Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making

Sam Kaner’s Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making [affiliate link] can help you empower your team to make decisions that are durable because they are shared. When decisions get revisited again and again, that’s a sign that people aren’t committed to the plan. This book will help you avoid this common dilemma.

Virtual Meetings: 6 Steps to a Strong Close

graphic of a climber planting a flag on top of a mountain

Graphic facilitation by Mary Jo Neil of Drawn Dialogue is part of our webinars on virtual collaboration.

Why do people hate meetings? Simple: Because too many meetings are a waste of time.

  • We don’t know why we’re here in the first place.
  • We do know why we’re here, but we tackle all kinds of other issues simply because someone throws them out.
  • We’re rehashing problems we thought we resolved last week.
  • We run out of time and aren’t sure what we’re supposed to do next.

These issues are hardly unique to online meetings. But they get worse in virtual spaces, where everything takes longer than it does in person.

I have antidotes! Here are a few tips from our free one-hour webinar on virtual collaboration. You can learn more in the Virtual Collaboration Deep Dive webinar next week.

To keep meetings focused on their intended outcomes, plan for the 6 steps of meeting closing. (That’s right. I want you to begin at the end.)

An intentional close to an online meeting has 6 steps.

  1. Reiterate the purpose.
  2. Review the agenda and outcomes.
  3. Document decisions made.
  4. Create an action plan, with a single owner for each action.
  5. Create a plan for communicating with people who aren’t present but need to take action or stay in the loop.
  6. End on time. If you haven’t accomplished the agenda, schedule the next meeting before time is up.

See how having these steps in mind from the outset can help you keep the meeting focused? Knowing — and clearly communicating — the destination from the outset can help you and your team stay on the path.

Next, you want to make sure the decisions the team makes are durable, so that you don’t have to revisit them again and again. Two of the do’s and don’ts for online facilitators I shared in the  intro webinar can help.


  • Record decisions and actions
  • Assign actions to one owner


  • Record activity
  • Allow for more than one owner of an action item

Making a clear record of what we decided to do rather than what we talked about focuses the team on action items. Assigning each item to one person creates accountability and alleviates buck-passing. In the next meeting, then, team members will report on what they did toward their action items and what remains.

Unless the situation changes, the initial decision does not need to be revisited. As facilitator, it’s your job to have a record of past decisions at the ready. If you hear an issue being re-introduced, you can remind the team that this issue was decided on such-and-such a date.

What you can do today

  • In the next meeting in which you are the participant rather than the facilitator, note how the facilitator opens and closes the meeting. What could you emulate, and what would you do differently?
  • Hone your skills in facilitating online meetings! Sign up for our free webinar Virtual Collaboration: Tips and Tools to Make Virtual Meetings Work on Thursday, April 9. If you already attended the free webinar or simply know that you need more than an overview, register for Virtual Collaboration Deep Dive on Thursday, April 16.

Questions for discussion

  • What is your #1 complaint about online meetings? Go ahead, vent a little.
  • Feel better? Good. Now, how can you keep people from making the same complaint about your meetings?
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