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Best Practices for Leading Online



Online video conferences have become the platform of choice for connecting, learning, and facilitating. To what extent does exercising leadership look different online versus in person?

  • “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”― Abraham Lincoln. Factor in more time to prepare for virtual meetings than you would for one taking place in person; budget time for troubleshooting technology before it officially begins. For more information, see Coro’s Guidelines for Virtual Learning.
  • When using online meeting tools, it is important to emphasize timeliness and active participation. Etiquette practices help improve the experience (e.g., muting the microphone when not speaking, using the camera to shift and maintain eye contact, using the hand raise feature for comments/questions, etc.).
  • Practice inquiry. Ask questions, and encourage people to use a solutions-oriented mindset and contribute their perspective to the conversation.
  • Finally, have fun, and encourage your participants to do the same. A sense of humor goes a long way!


Consider an upcoming virtual meeting and ask the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the meeting? Establish clear and realistic objectives and, if relevant, specific deliverables.
  • What is the roadmap (agenda) of discussion items and activities that will allow everyone to achieve those objectives in a virtual space?
  • Who will be the lead facilitator, and what other roles are needed to set everyone up for success? What group agreements do you need in place to help people feel seen and heard?
  • At the end of the virtual meeting, what are the next steps? Before you finish, gain alignment on decisions made, action items, and avenues for distributing the meeting information.


  • How can you creatively translate in-person activities to meaningful, virtual experiences?
  • What are the best online platforms for your community members to connect with each other, and what support can you provide to ensure their active engagement?
  • Take time to step back and assess what you’re currently doing:
    • What’s working well?
    • What would you do differently?
    • What additional support do you need?