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Don’t Let A Flight Ban Ruin Your Workshop – 5 Ways to Engage Remote Participants

Imagine the following situation: You have carefully planned a workshop or some other big meeting. Your goal is to advance and important project so that all key stakeholders are committed to its future.

You have booked the facilities, organised the schedule, thought about the small group assignments, prepared materials, invited the attendees, arranged the catering, and so on.
Some of the participants must travel to your workshop from overseas. Everything is fine until the day before the event, when some of the participants inform you that they will not be able to attend. They would however like to participate remotely – surely this won’t be a problem, will it?

You feel a bit irritated, but what can you do? The situation is probably familiar to us all, especially during these times when travel bans are becoming more common, for example for health reasons.

Should the whole event be cancelled as remote participants will not be equally involved in it? This will postpone the project development, as it will take weeks for all the participants to have time in their calendars for a new meeting. Or do you just accept that remote attendees will not be able to participate in the planning at all?

Remote Workshopping Tips

This is a difficult situation, but fortunately you can be prepared! It is a good idea to plan your workshops with online tools so that everything doesn’t have to be done in person.

Here are five things you can do to increase the efficiency of your workshop and reduce the risk that your workshop will fail due to a cancelled flight:

  1. In advance, work on the simplest things online in a facilitated way and focus on the most important things in the workshop itself.
  2. Document your workshop output on the same online service you used during the project preparation, so that the output and notes are immediately available to everyone.
  3. Ensure that remote participants hear and see everything that is seen and heard on the spot.
  4. During the workshop, apply participatory working methods to the online service in the same way as the traditional workshop facilitation methods. Ask for help in facilitation if your own skills are not sufficient.
  5. Afterwards online, continue to process your output from where you left off in the workshop.

When you connect an online facilitation service with a professional facilitator and concise wrap-up meetings, at its best working is more efficient and fewer workshops are required. This in turn frees up the experts’ time for other tasks and reduces the need to travel.


Sofigate Roundtable combines facilitation expertise with business social media in an agile, fun and inspirational way. It provides you the ability to involve all key resources in the decision making – anywhere, anytime and on any device. 


About the Author
Juho Nevalainen
is an expert in business capability development, strategies, digital concept design and digital development. Juho helps clients by utilizing wide range of facilitation methods regardless of time and place. At Sofigate, Juho is also the concept owner for Roundtable service.