What is Digital Facilitation?

what is digital facilitation

What is Digital Facilitation?

Despite what the words imply, Digital Facilitation involves real humans!

Meetings that incorporate Digital Facilitation are facilitated by a digital facilitator. This is a person who designs and facilitates highly productive and engaging meetings by making use of digital tools while still keeping people at the heart of the meeting. A digital facilitator, like any other professional facilitator, will design a meeting agenda that ensures you reach the desired outcomes of the meeting.

What’s special about experienced digital facilitators is that they know how to use technology to make the meeting as productive and engaging as possible.

How Will Digital Facilitation Make a Difference to My Meetings?

Here are four examples of how digital facilitation can really make a difference to your meetings:

In-person meetings with more than eight participants. Digital facilitation can help when you are truly interested in tapping into everyone’s insights, opinions and ideas. The collaboration allowed by digital facilitation prevents anyone from dominating the meeting.

In-person meetings with hundreds of participants. Although it may seem  impossible, digital facilitation allows you to hear from everyone.  Because the input is collected in real time, everyone can view feedback from other participants immediately. You also get a report of the data collected in a much shorter timeframe than with traditional facilitation methods.

Video conferences. Digital facilitation can be used to ensure productive online meetings. You’ll be able to brainstorm questions or ideas, evaluate options, develop a collaborative action plan, and end the meeting with a complete and collaborative document and not just a video/audio recording.

When you want people’s input but not everyone can make it to a meeting at the same time. In this case a Digital Facilitator can plan a two-part meeting – one that takes place asynchronously (where people can log in to the meeting workspace to contribute ideas or opinions on their own time) and one that takes place synchronously (where people are in the meeting workspace at the same time and can discuss items, listen to each other, and capture the highlights in real time, whether they are in the same room or not).

Why a Digital Facilitator?

If any of the following are true for you, you will benefit from working with a digital facilitator to design and facilitate your next important meeting:

  • You need to bring people together but wish you could avoid the travel costs
  • You have a dispersed team that needs to have better, more productive meetings (either online or in-person)
  • You want to bring together people from cross-functional teams or from different offices to collaborate on a project.
  • It’s impossible to find a time that works for all the participants.
  • You have an annual planning meeting coming up and you want it to be more productive and engaging than other years
  • You wish you could involve more people in strategic planning, or in creative problem solving, or in a change initiative.
  • You are planning a conference and you want participants to have engaging discussions without the need to break into separate rooms.
  • You are planning a panel presentation and you want to engage the audience in a meaningful way (much beyond what polling technology offers).
  • You want to run a fun and productive networking session that is equally engaging for introverts and extraverts.

When do you NOT need a Digital Facilitator?

  • When you only ever need to bring a small group together and you have no problem covering this expense on a regular basis.
  • When you are meeting via video conference or phone with only one to eight participants and all you need to do is take some time to chat.
  • When your team meetings are already highly engaging, well-planned and productive.
  • When you haven’t yet witnessed the incredible efficiency that results from working with a digital facilitator…ignorance is bliss!
  • When your workplace is stuck in the 20th Century.
  • When you have no interest in truly engaging meeting participants. You are perfectly happy for meeting participants to only be half-present while most of their attention is on replying to emails, texting, or even playing video games.

The best ways to learn what digital facilitation looks like and understand how it will work in your meetings is to:

Read how it was used in a real meeting. Here’s an article about a recent meeting with 360 participants that we facilitated for Schlegel Villages.

Read our recent case study on using digital facilitation to guide discussions on bridging the educational and digital divide.

Watch a video demonstrating how we use digital facilitation in workshops.

Contact us for a free demo!

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"NeOle's virtual facilitation services were an eye-opening experience for our globally-dispersed organization. The level of engagement and productive work that we accomplished rapidly turned skeptics into rabid fans, which is why we continue to hire Neolé." - J.Vehar, VP Products, Dale Carnegie & Associates
"I have had the pleasure of working with NeOlé in a number of settings over the past de​cade. Their creative and collaborative approach to training, group facilitation and problem solving greatly influenced the work we did with frontline workers across Ontario. I have adopted a number of their strategies into my own work, and never hesitate to call on NeOle to lead a session at our annual event." - P.Cross, Legal Director, Luke's Place
“I loved the use of the interactive technology for real-time engagement. And the facilitators were wonderful, intuitive, intelligent, able to manage group ebs/flows and adjust accordingly.” - Participant in a 3-day training on Leading Innovation
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