BLOG: How to Maximize Your Virtual Collaboration Experience

If your team is looking for new ways to supercharge your virtual collaboration experience, here are some key insights to maximize their potential.

By Tracy Smitten

Article based on the Supercharging Your Virtual Collaboration Experience webinar. Download the webinar.

In these unprecedented time, organizations are working to identify and resolve challenges in remote working environments. We spoke to our partners and found they are facing challenges beyond selecting technology tools.  Organizations are now faced with improving communication and productivity in the virtual workspace for team members and clients alike. The question is, how do we work together remotely in a way that is enhances our experience?

4 years working as a distributed team

At ET Group we have spent the last four years working as a distributed team. We have faced various challenges and uncovered some creative solutions. We have built successful remote workspaces for our team and clients all over the world.

We’ve identified and experienced so many different work styles and tools that contribute to productivity. We have found success by focusing on a more collaborative workspace. Maintaining connection, enhancing teamwork and preserving organisational culture in our hybrid workspace environments.

Now more then ever organizations are realizing this present-day global issue is an invitation to try new things and innovate as they go. We have found that yes, technology can be uncomfortable. Yes, teams are finding themselves in a new territory but fear not. Success can be achieved! Organizations need to properly assess their remote working challenges and hold open discussions within their organizations to find ideal solutions.

Here are some quick tips for supercharging your virtual team collaboration:

1. Be Kind and be Bold!

Start your virtual collaboration sessions with an attitude of “learning as you go”. Try new things and find what works for you. Don’t be afraid to try multiple collaboration tools and technologies to find the right mix.

2. Re-Discover Your People

Encourage open communication and idea sharing between your team members. Find the hidden talents within your team. This will help maintain connection and jump start innovations for your organization.

3. Leverage Hidden Strengths

Leverage the strengths of your team and show appreciation for individual talents. In this new era, you will find “hidden” strengths and technical “know how” within your team that will help enhance your virtual collaboration. You never know who will have experienced working with Zoom, WebEx or Nureva tools that you had not called on before.  

4.  Be Agile

Take incremental steps, take quick wins, repeat the good and do not hold onto “norms”. Create new ones!

Supercharging your virtual collaboration will not only present key challenges but it will give your organization opportunities. Need help with assessing and implementing your collaboration tools? Our team is always here to help! Contact us for more details on how to better your remote work environment.

VIDEO: The Future of Work(ers) in Brave Organizations

On January 23, The Moment invited ET Group to join a panel discussion exploring the next generation of Organization Design and what that means for workers within the Future of Work. 

Watch the full panel discussion

Is your organization Brave?

To excel in the Future of Work, organizations must be brave. They must lead by embracing new team dynamics, distributing authority and decision-making, and enabling employees and customers with a strong voice.

Innovation and culture are integral to the success of organizations in these new conditions. Yet, corporate structures so often block employees from recognizing and responding to change. How can organizations tap into the creative and innovative skillset of its workers while embracing new ways of working?

The Moment and DesignTO co-presented “The Future of Work(ers) in Brave Organizations” as part of the DesignTO Festival in 2020.

The conference speaks to themes of:

“Teal” and self-organizing models
Dynamic and responsive operations
Self-aware workers and leaders
Organizations who are pushing the status quo, and leading in new and unique way

Featuring Simon Mhanna (The Moment), Michelle N Moore (ET Group), Peter Aprile (CounterTax), and Laura Zizzo (Mantle314).

‘The Future of Work(ers) in Brave Organizations’ was co-presented by DesignTO and The Moment. Event space and support provided by Teknion.

ARTICLE: 5 Tips for Hosting Effective Large Video Conferences

If your team has been hosting large group video conference meetings because of COVID-19, here are some key insights to maximize your meeting potential.

By Tracy Smitten

Article based on our Webinar: Hosting Large Group Video Conferences Effectively. Download the webinar.

Amid the COVID-19 public health emergency and for the first time in our history, society has committed to maintaining physical distancing with a strong need to work together to find new ways to communicate, collaborate, and connect with each other.

For the last 4 years, ET Group has grown as a productive, self-managed, collaborative unit, while working almost entirely remotely. Our team’s operate regularly in large group video meetings. We host virtual team connects that run up to 5 hours in length, host large group town hall meetings with over 40 people, and collaborate daily in large group virtual settings. We continue to explore new tools and practices that can enrich our team’s virtual experience.

Here are 5 key tips we have learned to make your next meeting more effective.

1. Identify the technology you will need

What are the technology platforms, tools, and equipment will need to use. Make sure to choose a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Webex that can take advantage of large groups using settings like gallery view. Equipping all of your team’s participants with the best audio and video equipment available will maximize everyone’s experience. This will ensure that everyone is on the same playing field, limiting technology issues and creating a more engaging experience for all.

2. Define your meeting roles


It is critical to establish a few base roles to ensure you create clarity and the ability to run a smooth meeting. Who will be the meeting hosting? Who will be facilitator to guide and hold space for the conversation? Who will be scribing and taking notes? Who will be responsible to manage the technology?

It may sound like a lot of roles but they are key to your success!

Host: Establishes the meeting context and the meeting objectives
Facilitator: Guides the conversation, keeps the meeting in check and on-time, while allowing the group to focus on the content.
Scribe: Takes notes and documents the meeting.
Technology Manager (Optional): Ensures the meeting is set-up, handles tech issues, and records the call if necessary.

3. Put together the structure for your meeting


What is the purpose of your meeting? What do you want to get out of it? What do you want people to experience?

Establish a structure for your meeting to make effective use of time and increase the clarity and expectations for participants. Create your meeting objectives, meeting milestones, determining meeting length, and choosing your facilitation style.

4.  Choose your meeting practices and processes


Determine the level of engagement you plan to invite from your participants.

Check-in’s are a fantastic way to establish everyone’s place in the meeting. Asking a question such as, how are you arriving and what do you expect out of today’s meeting. It helps people feel engaged and not lost in such a large virtual group.

However, in a large group setting it can be tough to manage this in a timely manner. Instead, ask your participants to write their check-in via the chat window or using a collaboration platform like Webex Teams or Slack.

Use practices that maintain involvement and engagement from your participants. Send out periodic meeting polls or pose questions that participants can answer in the chat window, rather than out loud. This can also help manage time in a large group while involving everyone.

It is important that you use practices and processes that create an environment that invites everyone to participate. So that it is not the One-to-Many experience that so often plagues large group settings. This is one person speaking to a large group.

5. Understand the mindset of your participants


Understanding the mindset of your participants is key to an effective meeting. What mindset are participants potentially arriving into the meeting with?

Are they arriving with confusion surrounding the meeting? Are they unclear of why they are invited? Are they feeling excited or down?

As a host or facilitator, it is your job to gauge the room and ensure you can manage the group, shift gears if required, and draw the best out of everyone.

We would love to hear about your experience in the comments

We have sought and found virtual meeting techniques that enhance human connection.  We have found video conferencing can be extremely productive! We thrive when we can bring harmony to our work and workplace with technology.

We would love to hear about your experience with remote working and how the 5 core elements of Effective Video Conferencing have worked for you. Let us know how you do!

Register for Our Upcoming Webinar Series

In an effort to help organizations and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are launching a series of webinars to offer our expertise.

WEBINAR: Supercharging Your Virtual Collaboration Experience

WHEN: Wednesday, April 22, 2020
TIME: 2:00 p.m. (EDT)
LENGTH: 45-Minutes

Rich virtual collaboration presents key challenges and opportunities. This webinar is for you whether you are new to collaborating remotely or you have been doing it for years. We will discuss key tools, processes, and technology that will help supercharge your next virtual collaboration experience.

You’ll get to see, learn, and participate in a virtual collaboration session hosted by seasoned experts from ET Group (Workplace Technology Integrator) and Nureva (Creators of Visual Collaboration Technology)

WEBINAR: Hosting Large Group Video Conferences Effectively

WHEN: Wednesday, March 25, 2020
TIME: 3:00 p.m. (EDT) | 12:00 p.m. (PDT)
LENGTH: 60-Minutes

Are you having difficulty hosting effective remote large group meetings? Are they making you and your colleagues feel bored, frustrated, or disengaged?

Many companies in the last month have rolled out mandatory work-from-home policies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s presenting new roadblocks and challenges to enabling better communication, collaboration, and connection while hosting and participating in large group remote meetings.

Dirk Propfe, the CEO of ET Group is hosting a 60 minute webinar with expert virtual facilitator Brent Lowe. Brent will help you learn how to better host more effective and meaningful large group remote meetings through some of the best practices and approaches.


What you will learn:

  • How to have more meaningful and effective meetings
  • How to make everyone feel included and engaged
  • How to work well together as a team in a large group setting
  • How to get innovative ideas from unexpected sources
  • How to work on complex topics together

A Letter of Support From Our CEO

Dear friends, colleagues, and partners,

This is a time of disruption and great uncertainty for all of us. COVID-19 and other crises are testing the fragility and resilience of many of the systems we depend on.

At the same time, I believe we are becoming more aware of how interdependent we are. We are being invited to reconsider what we value, how we can best contribute to the world, and how we can collaborate to work on things that truly matter. We are quickly learning to live, work, and interact in different and more meaningful ways with each other.

We need to come together to sense and make sense of reality, figure out how we can combine our gifts to help each other, and become more resilient as society and a living planet.

We are here to support you and also depend on you to continue to thrive.

Please reach out to us if we can offer you support during this time at

In response to the current situation, we are launching a series of initiatives to plan for different scenarios and further our purpose of bringing harmony to work and workplace with technology.

We have implemented the ET Group Safety Protocol and Continuity Plan. This plan examines all areas of business at ET Group and enables us to take action to ensure continued service and safety to both our team members and partners. Our team continues to monitor the unfolding situation and is ready to respond as conditions evolve.

Our detailed plan is available at etgroup.ca/covid-19:

  • Safety Guideline Definitions: Levels 1 to 6
  • Current Status level
  • Options + Recommendations
  • Additional Considerations and Scenarios
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Project FAQs
  • Service FAQs

Our plan answers questions such as:

  • How will ET Group ensure projects meet delivery dates?
  • How will ET Group triage a service request?
  • How will ET Group manage unique customers’ requirements?
  • How will ET Group mitigate risk?
  • How will ET Group protect our team members?

Over the next few days, we will also be launching regular online conversations to discuss the impacts we are all encountering as we redefine our work, our workplaces, and the technologies we use to collaborate.

In order to continue to support you, we are taking every step possible to maintain business continuity while we develop new offerings to meet emerging business needs. We are open both virtually and physically at this time during regular business hours to assist you and your organization’s needs.

General Inquiries

  • Monday – Friday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (EST)
  • +1 (416) 598-2223
  • info@etgroup.ca

Service & Support

Sales

  • Monday – Friday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (EST)
  • + 1 (416) 477-7929
  • dr@etgroup.ca

Thank you for your support, please keep safe and connect with us to make the best out of this situation.

With love and deep appreciation,

Dirk Propfe
CEO, ET Group

RECAP: The Rise of Self-Managed Organizations at IDS2020

With our world rapidly evolving, the way we work together is beginning to fail us. We are encountering complex challenges that require new ways of working, innovating, and designing solutions.

Traditional hierarchical paradigms were designed for organizations of the past, born during the industrial revolution. Today, they are still the most predominant view of business leaders around the globe. The rapid advancement of our society, culture, and technology has caused massive shifts for how new generations of workers want and need to work together.

“I was incredibly disillusioned with corporations and having worked in organizations that stifled my own creativity and others, I said there has to be a different way. I began collecting different practices and ways of working that could help us.”

Dirk Propfe, CEO, ET Group

Progressive business leaders have recognized this reality and have discovered that creating networks of self-managed teams may hold the answer to unlocking the potential that helps us to design a better future.

ET Group has been on a journey adopting self-management and new ways of working for the last 3 years. During this time we removed a traditional power hierarchy and implemented self-managed practices, processes, and principles that radically changed the way our company works together.

What Happened at IDS2020?

In January, we were invited by the Interior Design Show 2020 to bring together a Future of Work panel with 5 business leaders whose organizations are on the journey of self-management.

They shared key insights that can help organizations shift the way they’re working along with helping them understand why their organizations are making the move, how they’re bringing the concept to life, and the impact it creates on design and innovation.

We are sharing the 1 hour recording of the IDS2020 panel in hopes that the insights can inspire your organization to begin a journey of its own.

“The biggest shift from a traditional organization to a self managed organisation is that we don’t have a person boss. Instead there is a purpose boss. For The Moment our purpose is to empower people to lead change and co-create a thriving human future. That is a big purpose but as long as we are working towards, we maintain alignment.”

Erika Bailey, Innovation Designer, The Moment

Who are the Panelists?

From Left to Right: Peter Aprile (Counter Tax Lawyers), Joyce Zoka (Counter Tax Lawyers), Erika Bailey (The Moment), Dirk Propfe (ET Group), Brent Lowe (Brent Lowe)

The panelists are part of organizations that are on the journey of self-management. They are passionate about the future of work, new ways of working, and designing their organizations to enable the highest potential of people.

AWARD: AV Industry’s 40 Influencers Under 40

Congrats Dirk on being one of the AV Industry’s 40 Influencers Under 40.

After winning the NSCA Excellence in Business Award and landing the cover of Commercial Integrator magazine. Our CEO Dirk Propfe has made the exclusive list of the AV Industry’s 40 CI Influencers Under 40.

ET Group was featured in a handful of articles last year with industry members recognizing the achievements made by ET Group in its resurgence using self-management.

“NSCA liked Propfe’s self-management company overhaul enough to give ET Group an Excellence in Business award earlier this year.”

D. Craig Maccormack, Executive Editor, Commercial Integrator

We are continuing the conversation across the AV Industry with the unique ways we are approaching work. We’re in the early stages of how big this transformation is going to be but it will allow us to recognize the constant need to evolve, delivering more value to our clients and our team.

PODCAST: The Shift to Self-Managed Organizations

Dirk Propfe joined the MacKay CEO Forums CEO Edge Podcast to share ET Group’s journey shifting to self-management and the radical change its had on our people.

The CEO Edge Podcast brought to you by MacKay CEO Forums provides valuable insights and practical advice from Canada’s top CEOs and trusted advisors.

Take a moment and give it a listen:

edge podcast, mackay ceo forums