The main problem with online committees and decision-making meetings? Participants think that they can cut corners, meaning the process of discussing, making decisions, and taking action should take less time than meeting in person. Consequently, without a commitment to creating and working within a set of rules, conversations deteriorate into a chaotic mess. And often, without intending to dominate, frustrated individuals step up and take over. People leave, feeling abandoned and ignored. And then there is the issue of bad technology.

There are two big advantages to using online tools. First obviously, is the issue of travel time, be it connecting people thousands of miles apart, living in the same small town, or working in the same building. Second, technology, when used correctly, can level the playing field and ensure that everyone has an equal voice in the meeting and has their opinions treated with respect.

Topics include planning technology-based meetings, the structure of successful decision-making, processes that work, and why online meetings need a facilitator with a mute button.

– Develop standards for virtual committees that includes orienting participants before the meeting.
– Establish protocols regarding how decisions are made without relying on perfect consensus.
– Set requirements for participants’ technology.
– Implement written guidelines regarding how participants conduct themselves during meetings.
– Implement written expectations regarding the participants’ commitment to the work of the short-term group or longterm committee.


Original  broadcast May 20, 2020 

Biography ~ Pat Wagner
Pat Wagner has been a trainer and consultant for libraries since 1978 using e-mail, platforms, and now social media to serve clients across the United States (and the solar system) who she has never met face-to-face.. She presents at state and national library conferences as well as working with libraries of all types from Alaska to Florida. She has been a frequent visitor to Florida libraries and was a facilitator for the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute for several years. Pat focuses on skills needed to support better productivity and workplace relationships, from personnel issues to strategic planning. She is known for her practical and good-humored programs.