Last week I watched as a meeting host brought five teams back from virtual breakout groups and asked each one of them to verbally debrief. Debriefs during in-person meetings can get a little tedious so I wondered how it would go with a group of thirty participants online. It didn’t go well. All but the designated speakers were visibly tuning out and toward the end, even those waiting to present seemed fairly unengaged.
Instead of virtual verbal debriefs consider:
- For short breakouts, ask participants to summarize what was talked about in the chat upon returning to the main room.
- For in-depth breakouts, assign a recorder who takes notes of the small team conversation in a shared document.
- Compile an e-book of the shared notes to distribute after the event.
- Hire a graphic recorder.
- Now that we are virtual, consider asynchronous collaboration as well. Give participants a link to a virtual whiteboard and let them brainstorm on their own time.