A shared experience is key to being part of a community. When people feel a part of a community, they are free to express themselves and give meaningful feedback during online workshops and meetings.

During this period of online collaboration, how can we have a successful online engagement experience to create this community and achieve the results we want?

MosaicLAB suggests 7 ways to achieve this, ensuring people are really hearing each other and have a collective experience online.

1. Presence

Providing clarity around roles, establishing working agreements and giving the program structure, all create a ‘presence’ that enables the facilitator to get the best out of a shared experience.

2. Framing and re-framing

Carefully crafting key questions and summarising progress helps people find shared understanding and agreement. By re-framing people’s feedback, participants feel genuinely heard and understood.

3. Listening

Picking up on language, intonations, and where possible body language, enables you to capitalise on the threads of the conversation. Pulling ideas together, creating connections and noticing tensions are the cues that help you solve complex issues.

4. Pace and timing

Building a pace and rhythm to the session that brings everyone along is key to any shared group process. Being online is very different - you need regular breaks and shorter bursts to get productive outcomes.

5. Delving

Asking hard questions, digging deeper into ideas/issues and discussing ‘the un-discussable’ are essential skills to go beyond a superficial conversation. A good facilitator is carefully watching for the tell-tale signs of an issue or opportunity that could shift the conversation.

6. Data collection

In any process, it is important to know what you need to collect from people and how you are going to use that. Each step must build on the next to give you a useful, tangible outcome.

7. Ambience/setup

Key features to a good ‘set-up’ include how the ‘room’ feels, where the information is stored and how you easily move about the exercises. Think about the quality of on-screen presentations, video backdrops, the pre-session/process communication, the level of interactivity, how you ‘open’ the session and the flow of tools.