The typical flow of a Forum meeting is for everyone to be together in one large group for the full 3-4 hours. Normally, during in-person meetings, this works fine; however, doing so in a virtual setting causes some people to space out because it requires a lot of sitting and listening while on mute to be polite on zoom.
I have been experimenting with breaking the Forum into smaller breakout rooms for different sections of the meeting. Three positive benefits of doing these smaller groups are:
- Each person gets more time to talk and express their thoughts and ideas.
- Individuals build deeper bonds with each other because they can engage in a more fluid conversation than is possible in a large group.
- The group’s energy increases because it mixes up the format and allows more engagement per individual.
During the meeting, three places that you could break the Forum into smaller groups are during the Warm-Up Question, The Presentation, and The Deep Dive.
If time permits, when the group comes back together, you could have each breakout room share a summary of what they talked about, but it’s not required as time is often very tight during the meetings.
Try this out at your next Forum meeting as it has proven beneficial for the Forums I’m training virtually right now.