The American School Board Journal, July 1999, p. 21

New technologies are making it easier than ever for professionals in different places to work together on so-called “virtual teams,” whether it’s across a district or across the country. Here are five things to remember when forming and participating in a virtual team:

1. Have an agenda. Identify the topics you will discuss when you meet and lay out a rough schedule for the proceedings. Set a time allotment for each item to be discussed, or risk spending too much time on some items and not enough on others.

2. Establish roles. No matter how big or how small the team, everyone should have a role to play. Roles should include team leader, observer, recorder, contributor, and coach.

3. “Whip” up enthusiasm. So-called “whip activities” should motivate the team and get everyone to focus on each other. Whip activities are a good warm-up for the meeting.

4. Study verbal and nonverbal cues. Analyzing the team’s behavior can improve communication among members.

5. Fishbowling. Out-of-the-box thinking can help teams identify areas that need more work. Fishbowling often occurs at the end of meeting, but can be practiced at any time the team thinks it needs it.