LEADERSHIP of the Future: #1 Virtual Conversations

I made a list of the top leadership skills that I believe rural community leaders need to survive in the future and LEADING VIRTUAL CONVERSATIONS quickly surfaced and made my top list. (see future blogs to uncover more leadership skills of the future) 

#1: Leading Virtual Conversations

There are very few people that can create an interactive, engaging virtual meeting while also focusing on trust and collaboration — this skill is an ‘unicorn skill set’ and should be valued and utilized.

As a leader with a statewide network, I believe that it is imperative that I can reach people where they are. Asking people to travel several hours for a two hour meeting isn’t always an option. I enjoy the hybrid of in-person meetings and virtual meetings to build trust and connection with people and the mix of both meeting types can create an economic advantage and should be the growth edge for rural communities, schools, businesses and organizations!

I recently had virtual zoom sessions with three Nebraska communities as an on boarding process for their communities host teams to gain a better understanding of the Rural Futures Institute Student Serviceship Experience. These meetings were each one hour long and were designed to share information, set goals for the interns and ask questions. The meetings went great and the host teams had a fantastic turnout! Everyone got a chance to talk and most participants had a webcam so we had visuals of everyone on the meeting. Best of all, the host team participants were able to take the ‘virtual meeting’ from their personal offices.

I also plan to use a virtual platform this summer to host peer-learning circles for the RFI Student Serviceship interns and their host communities as part of a learning cohort. This will serve as an opportunity to check-in, ask questions and create a sense of community when over 20 hours of distance will separate the interns during their summer experience.

I’m a huge fan of virtual meetings. I believe that strong virtual facilitation skills are unique and should be viewed as a important skill set for future leaders. There are very few people that can create an interactive, engaging virtual meetings while also focusing on trust and collaboration — this skill is an ‘unicorn skill set’ and should be valued and utilized.

Why does this matter?379247469aa3c2c543158bfcf9a7ee0038136ee4

  1. Engagement: Community engagement is critical and sometimes the best option is to meet people where they are.
  2. Saves Money: Virtual meetings can save time and money. The use of virtual technology saved my team $390.96 in fuel, not to mention 14+ hours in a car.
  3. Technology is the Norm: In the future working virtually will be the norm, not the exception.
  4. It’s Possible: People are busy and getting busier…and the use of technology now
    makes it possible for people to see, hear and interact with each other in an engaging platform.

Leaders of the future must be able to lead virtual meetings and teams– and lead them well. This will not replace human interaction, however, the hybrid of in-person and virtual meetings is a fantastic combination for any team.

“The secret sauce for virtual community building meetings: interactive and engaging facilitation rooted in trusting relationships!”- Kayla Schnuelle

What do you think about well facilitated virtual meetings? Which platform do you prefer (Zoom, Adobe Connect, GoTo Meeting, Skype)?


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