What Is An “Electronic Meeting?”
“Electronic meetings” use networked computers and meeting support software in addition to flipcharts, whiteboards, and “sticky dots.” Participants key their ideas, comments, and priorities into the networked computers. The ideas are then projected on a screen in front of the group. However, the ideas are anonymous so that the group considers the ideas on their own merit rather than their authorship. The meeting support software has tools that allow the group to organize the ideas into categories, prioritize them, and elaborate on them further.
Typically, an electronic meeting is a lead by a professional facilitator who has extensive knowledge of the software. A “technographic” may also be used to operate the meeting software.
Using electronic meeting systems does not preclude discussion. The system is a catalyst to allow a group to present ideas faster so that they can be discussed more thoroughly and without the prejudice of knowing their authorship.
At the end of an electronic meeting, draft minutes can be printed for dissemination to the attendees. Also, the draft meeting output can be saved to a floppy disk in Microsoft Word format for the client to have an immediate record of the meeting results. JRH Associates uses GroupSystems for Windows — the premier meeting support software in the world.
Electronic meetings have the advantages of parallel processing which increases the speed of contributing ideas; anonymity which frees the group to consider concepts free from prejudice; and the immediate availability of meeting minutes.
Another type of electronic meeting uses internet-based meetings and training support tools. In this type of electronic meeting, the participants all have access to the same web site for the purpose of web-based training as well as web-based decision analysis.
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