Over the past year we have all adjusted to working in the virtual space. We made refinements to how we collaborated with colleagues, association boards, committees, or task forces. The transition from in person meetings to the virtual space was not easy. Now that the pandemic is winding down, we will begin to plan 3-6 months ahead for in-person Fall and Winter 2022 meetings and events. How do we take the most optimal pieces of virtual collaboration and carry them forward as we begin meeting again in person?
Prior to the pandemic, physical meetings were spaced every month or second month. Travel arrangements, hotels, and conferences rooms are costly, so planning well in advanced was crucial to the success of these in person events. We are all eager for hallway and post meeting conversations and the uninterrupted focus of communication with those across the table without the distractions of kids and animals in the background.
- Focus on the task at hand.
- Better Discussion
- Building Social Relationships with your colleagues
- Travel Costs
- Less adaptive to emergency discussion items
- More dedicated time is required.
We have transitioned into the virtual space for meetings. It took some getting used to, but it seems we are beginning to improve on effectively meeting in the virtual space. The ability to easily schedule efficient monthly meetings without travel or accommodations has led to major savings for many associations. It has also been much easier to schedule meetings on the fly to resolve issues as they arise. This has helped boards make decisions and adapt quickly as issues present themselves. It also accommodates collaborative committee work on projects with tools such as screen sharing and collaborative documents. The convenience of quality recordings has also made it easy to pass along information to those who could not attend. Although, with this method we have lost some of the spontaneous creative idea generating discussions that take place off the agenda timeline.
- Adaptive to Scheduling Constraints
- Screen/Document Sharing
- Zoom Fatigue/distractions
- Rigid Discussion Format
- Less Creatively Spontaneous
Meetings in the Future
As we look ahead to the next year and to scheduling upcoming meetings, how can we adapt to take advantage of the strengths from both meeting formats? Associations could plan to alternate every second meeting from virtual to in person. They can also request everyone bring their laptops or tablets to reduce the printing budget and allow for quick collaborative document and screen sharing while reviewing materials. This also helps keep the package flexible to new and updated content and allow better participation in case anyone is not able to attend in person. We can also learn from our time on zoom to schedule shorter meetings to help improve focus. We can also make sure to structure the meeting to include time to catch up on spontaneous discussion over coffee, or meal breaks. It’s been a long year and we all owe ourselves some time to catch up!
We can take the best parts of meeting in person and the virtual space to maximize collaboration in a hybrid format as we work together in the future. We can strive to achieve an adaptive, focused environment for quality discussions that allow us to build relationships with our colleagues while advancing the associations vision and mission.