• Lacey Webb

Remote Facilitation that Works?

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

We all experience learning and communication differently and demonstrate different levels of comfort with learning via technology. This is one of the biggest drivers for clients engaging their consultants to come to site, whether it's for project planning and definition, training, assessment of challenges etc. While day to day there are many meetings that we action via Zoom or Skype or other online platforms, sometimes we as the end user just want all of the meeting attendees in the same room at the same time as we feel that we will have more effective outcomes.

Given the rapid escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, this proves a challenge.

How do you effectively engage someone to support you with as much success remotely as they may have had in person when you’re default business approach has been face-to-face?

Next week I am supporting a regional local government authority with process development workshops and training. They have staff spread across four facilities with a minimum driving time between each facility of 2 hours each way, the furthest site being a 6 hour one way trip from the Council corporate offices. Facilities have limited connectivity and even when they do connect to 3G/4G signals the strength is insufficient to support consistent video communications one way, let alone two way discussion. Added to this challenge, some team members struggle with literacy, numeracy and technology, making a face to face session much more effective than a remote engagement. The team also do not have sufficient internal resources to adopt a train the trainer approach, where I might work with one resource in depth to allow them to then disseminate the training and process work to the broader team.

I am travelling next week, but it will be my last week of travel for a while until we see what happens with air travel, client requirement and general health across the county, and in the interim there are a lot of steps taken to monitor and maintain health before the trip. So today’s focus needs to be on how to support customers and staff so that everyone gets the outcomes that they need as effectively as they need, without the added stress and risk of virus exposure, in the coming months.

I am interested in feedback from industry in regard to the most effective remote engagements you have experienced. What have you found works well for your teams in a training or project environment? Where have you struggled liaising with your contractors or consultants when they aren’t in front of you? Are you a guru of working remotely with large teams and what do you find works well? I can already see this topic of discussion popping up on Linkedin more and more and am excited to see the opportunities identified.

While a pandemic is not an ideal driver for positive outcomes, here’s hoping that we see remote facilitation come ahead leaps and bounds to support all sorts of requirements over the coming months, and to support continued business across all industries in our slightly more isolated future.