• Whitney

Rocking Remote Facilitation


As we all navigate these challenging times, I keep seeing article after article pop up about facilitating remote meetings and workshops. I even went so far as to sign up for a training on the subject (highly recommend Regin Rabenhorst and Jacey Spratt's Virtual Facilitation Skills course). These articles and trainings all have great tips.


Yet it feels like we're all still striving to master doing our jobs 100% remotely.

First of all, I want to give you permission to be bad at doing your job right now. It's completely changed. And you've got other pressures. In no other time has the state of the world been so omnipresent. So it's okay if you aren't rocking the virtual facilitation on top of all the other things that you have to navigate at the moment.


I could sit here and espouse all the great things I've learned in five years of overwhelmingly remote work. I could talk about best practices in virtual facilitation and what's worked in meetings big and small. I could talk about technology and how to share technology with others.


But I think you probably know more than you realize. So instead of to telling you how to do remote facilitation better, I'm going to remind you - as an international development professional - of what you already know and do amazingly.

  1. You listen actively. As development professionals we understand that learning comes through listening. You take the time to really hear the people on the other side of the line.

  2. You treat each other as whole beings. Never once would you ignore the realities of someone else's experience, whether it be the local weather or what their kids have been up to lately.

  3. You care. All of your work is about caring about other people and striving to make their lives better, and you can channel that caring into your communication.

  4. You are aware of cultural contexts. You have colleagues all over the world and have substantial experience navigating different cultural contexts and respecting the lives and opinions of others.

  5. You do this all the time! Honestly, you were ahead of the curve. Your calls were on WhatsApp and Skype and Teams long before it became a necessity. Know that you are well positioned to succeed.

Do not discount what you already do well.


There are times to push yourself to learn and nail everything. This doesn't have to be one of them.


What I will say is this: Take a moment this week to share a little gratitude. Tell someone else they are doing a good job.

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