I’m learning that a well-led workshop is not primarily about using the software platform with the best meeting features.
Believe me, I’ve spent some time over the past four months learning the ins and outs of various applications, ranging from Zoom to MS Teams to WebEx to Mural to Miro to Lino to Stormboard…all in search of the best visual collaborative tool.
But once again, it comes back to people, not products or features.
Even if a platform can do all sorts of amazing things, if participants aren’t comfortable using it, it’s a dud. And they make that judgement very quickly – sometimes before even trying it.
Our cognitive load is heavy these days. We’ve been forced to adapt to a lot all at once, over and over again. We don’t have much excess capacity for change. Being asked to learn even one more new thing in a meeting might just be one thing too many.
So I find myself sticking to the basics. Platforms people know, tools they are familiar with. While other products might have fancier features that can do the job better, that’s only true if people are willing to take the time and create the mind space to learn them. And right now, they often aren’t.
Early in the pandemic, I challenged myself to learn a few new collaborative tools and platforms. Lately, I’m challenging myself to facilitate well without them. Using the “Minimum Viable Platform” has become my new default, primarily out of sensitivity to my tired audiences. If even one or two people are excluded because they can’t navigate a new online environment quickly or comfortably, it’s better to create an inclusive, engaging experience on familiar turf.