I live by the beach in Australia. Swimming in the ocean is something you either love or hate, and it sometimes depends where you live. In southern Australia, even in summer, the water is very cold. Really cold. On a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing better than diving into this cold water for immediate relief from the heat. I love it.
People approach swimming in this cold water differently, some just dive straight in, others edge in slowly, some never go beyond the shallows. Metaphor alert!
You can see all of the above approaches by facilitators to online facilitating and online training. I have no view on what is the right approach, it’s an observation that there are different approaches.
Now we are seeing lots written about online fatigue, with many different analyses of why it’s so tiring, and even unsatisfying, to meet with friends and colleagues on zoom or whatever. Growing up in a pre-internet age, I still marvel at the technology that makes this possible, while dabbling in all available platforms to see what works for me. I am tentatively putting my toes into online facilitation.
Here’s some of what I’m seeing in online meetings that I don’t like:
- one person talking at everyone else, turning it into the on-line equivalent of a boring presentation:
- too many instructions, and over-instructing participants before leaping into an activity
- wanting everything to flow nicely, without messiness or interruptions
- no breaks
- lots of assumptions
- using zoom, or anything really, because it’s there
- making lots of lists, often disguised as templates for on-line group activities
- believing that synchronise meetings is the only way, or at least the best, way
And here’s what I’m seeing that I do like:
- slowing down
- keeping audio and video ON
- limited synchronis time online, most of the work is done off-line, with the group coming back together regularly for short check-ins, further instructions, etc.
- trusting people to work, and navigate any difficulties, at a pace that works