When the COVID19 pandemic disrupted everyday life for billions around the globe, large annual conferences and small staff meetings alike had to move online. Although this new format posed numerous technical and organizational challenges, it also offers opportunities—for reaching wider audiences, organising climate-friendly events, and improving diversity and equity. But organising online events requires appropriate training to understand how to effectively utilise online participation tools and how to engage with audiences in the virtual realm to continue to host successful meetings.
With this in mind, CONNECT organised an e-training on online collaboration and communication for planning, hosting and participating in interactive online meetings. The training was devised and led by expert facilitators from South African-based consultancy firm Ingenious Peoples Knowledge (IPK) with the support of the International Labour Organization (ILO). In the 3-day intensive training, CONNECT members explored participatory online engagement methods and practiced ways to plan and host effective e-meetings.
Throughout the course, participants discovered the principles and approaches underlying the practice of process design and facilitation, the differences between facilitation in the physical and in the virtual space, whilst discovering the wide variety of available technical platforms, their main features and explored best practices for designing and hosting online events and meetings.
The course welcomed participants from Lao PDR, South Korea, Thailand and Viet Nam, who took part in sessions led by online facilitation and process design experts. Online collaboration tools such as ZOOM, MIRO and Mentimeter were presented and explored, and participants were invited to design and present their own event/conference, with continuous support and inputs from the facilitators.
In the wake of the COVID19 pandemic and living in the so-called ‘new normal’, institutional events industry might never fully return to physical meetings as we know it and we are looking to an alternative delivery, such as virtual and hybrid events, as it might define the future of events as we know it.
At CONNECT, we believe that training practitioners in Social Health Protection is essential to strengthen the efficiency and sustainability of social health protection schemes, and we promote both short-term and long-term capacity building exercises. In these times of rapid change, online facilitation skills are more and more recognized as an essential competence to work together effectively and harness individual and collective potential to achieve common goals.