Internet options for meetings

Virtual meetings are potentially the best thing to happen to meetings, ever.
Frankly, our meetings have been in a rut for over 2000 years. They have become all about the activity of meeting, and have lost sight of the purpose of meeting, and as a result their process is virtually indifferentiable from meetings described in ancient texts, except that the topics have changed somewhat.

But virtual meetings provide an opportunity to reconsider the way meetings take place.
Initial attempts to do this have admittedly been somewhat underwhelming. Rather than go back to the purpose of meetings and reconsider the potential of the medium of the Internet for new and efficient processes to achieve that purpose, we have instead sought to recreate the activity of meetings in the new medium.
Of course meetings were not particularly effective in the old medium anyway. But ignoring that fact, we appear to have sought to replicate the old in the new through Telepresence and large scale video-conferencing suites. The result has been less than optimal.
But, hopefully we can now recognise this fact, and reconsider our process for the real opportunities of the web by going back to the purpose of meetings and finding better ideas for delivering that purpose. And in doing so we may also highlight the potential to rethink our physical meetings also.
So what opportunities does the web provide for the meeting process?
Well that, of course, depends on what you want to achieve – your ‘purpose’ for the meeting process. To understand more about the purpose of meetings, take a look  at  The Purpose of Meetings which has been extracted from the book ‘Meeting by Design‘.
Essentially the purpose(s) of your meeting are likely to fall into seven areas:
  1. Understand the situation, its context, and its implications
  2. Explore the issues and critical factors within the situation.
  3. Identify solutions to resolve issues and improve the situation
  4. Establish goals; shared standards of success/achievement
  5. Agree strategy and plan out steps for its realisation.
  6. Ensure teamwork: relationships/communication for success
  7. Manage progress: review metrics and resolve deficiencies.
The web has a wealth of resources for supporting each of these areas, and the list of options is growing daily (see
All that is required is some curiosity to search (see and skip past the adverts) and experiment.
However, to get you started, we have developed a limited number of simple tools which are based on good meeting practice from workshops and interactive meetings. These are in the form of iFrames – templates which can be used as part of a physical or virtual meeting and annotated in the same way as whiteboards (but with a bit more structure). You can understand more about them from the links in this page, or directly select and access them as PowerPoint templates here.

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