Jeremy Pettitt on Communication and Culture

Practical Suggestions for Online Small Groups

Posted on September 07, 2020

NOTE: These suggestions are specifically related to online small groups and do not apply to online large group or presentation-style meetings.

How can we make our online small groups as close to the effectiveness of our in-person small groups as possible?

  1. Encourage each person to find a quiet place (with as few distractions as possible) before they join your online small group.
  2. Acknowledge the medium at the beginning of the group time so that each participant has permission to speak up when they are having technical issues.
  3. As often as possible, encourage each person to appear live on video to see their nonverbal communication.
  4. Discourage muting of the participant's audio to increase how present each person will be during the meeting.
  5. Encourage each participant to use "Gallery" mode or multi-view on their screen.
  6. Encourage each participant to use full screen mode for the online video feed in order to avoid the temptation of multitasking.
  7. Discourage private chat and/or texting while engaged in the online small group to maintain trust and focus.
  8. Allocate enough time for the small group conversation as the online environment typically requires more time than an in-person small group does.
  9. Remember to be patient with each other throughout the entire online small group experience.

UP NEXT: 5 Facets of Healthy Small Groups

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