We just completed our first major virtual workshop. We had people in 8 different locations spread across 7 timezones and 4 countries. When we first planned this workshop, we had planned to run it in the traditional way: fly everyone in to a central location where we can all talk together and work as a team. However, our client decided to make drastic reductions in their travel budgets and suddenly–we were planning a virtual workshop.
This was not simply a meeting, it was a full on workshop with multiple people jumping in and contributing to the discussion. We used a combination of WebEx, Excel, and PowerPoint. It took a ton of planning and practice . . . we even conducted a practice session beforehand to ensure that we were well setup for the meeting. And, critically, we used video.
While the quality of the video in Webex is certainly limited (it is sometimes blurry and frequently freezes), the power of being able to see body language and expressions is hard to overstate. And, I must say that Webex has done a good job of syncing video and audio in order to make for a pretty good meeting experience. I’m actually looking forward to the next one!