Expert Guide to Managing Online Meetings

(Joanna Rotary) #1

Introductory exercises for business and training

Ideally you have a video or audio response from everybody to get the
full benefit of an icebreaker. Tell people how long they have to talk to
manage the time. For a large group and a quick introduction, ask people
to use the chat function to introduce themselves. Take time to read
through the chat and acknowledge some of the responses.

If it’s a really large group, consider using a poll. Most platforms include
the software for this, and you can vary the seriousness of the poll. Use a
5 - point scale or a set of closed options.

  • How much do you know about (training subject)?

  • What do you think our sales figures were last year?

  • How energised are you feeling right now?

  • Which superpower would you most like to have?

1. Pre-tasking – a time saver and introduction

To save time during a meeting send out information (reading, video) in
advance. For a business meeting or a workshop this could be the issue
you are going to discuss, for research it could be something to heighten
awareness or give you information about your participants.
Open the meeting with comments and reactions to the task.

2. Objectives, and/or Questions and Challenges

Role : Creates a sense of getting down to business straight away.
Procedure : It helps to ask them to think about this in advance. Ask
participants to identify some or all of:

  • Objectives for the workshop / training

  • Challenges in the topic

  • Questions they would like answered
    If it’s a large group, keep it simple, ask them to write in the chat, and
    summarise key points.

3. What you can bring to the meeting?

Role : Sets up a sense of positive contribution.
Procedure : Give people a minute to think about what knowledge
skills, or characteristics they have, or give a list of examples

  • Good at problem solving

  • Creative thinker

  • Knowledge of the topic

  • Enthusiasm etc.

Given that many online
meetings are 60- 90
minutes in length, short
and focused
icebreakers are ideal.

If the questions in the
introductory exercise
cannot be easily
answered, warn people
to prepare in advance.
Otherwise the exercise
will fall flat.

Many workshop
icebreakers have a
training element –
after the exercise there
is a discussion of what
has been discovered.
Use these only if
relevant to your

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