I recently attended the Unmute conference, hosted by the Remote Coaches. It spanned over 12 hours, 7 continents, 20 brilliant speakers and 150 participants. This conference was aimed at leaders, facilitators, coaches and anyone who cares about the quality of collaboration in distributed spaces. It was really wonderful being able to connect with people from around the world, to share experiences and discuss remote working. I had been avoiding meetups and conferences for the past few months after attending way too many prior and spending way too much time online. I’m so glad I chose to join this conference.

One of the highlights for me was Esther Derby’s talk – Creating the Conditions for Trust. This was specifically around Employer-Employee trust. She spoke of how intense monitoring and supervision works against trust and productivity. Organisations that operate at high trust are 300 times more productive. There is a general belief that trust is binary – all or nothing. Esther pointed out that trust is contextual. You would trust your cab driver to take you to the airport, but not to have your bank details. Esther shared her insights on how to create an environment that is trusting, managers should pay attention to Clarity, Conditions and Constraints.

Another session I really enjoyed was a Show and Tell hosted by Jo and Kirsten, where participants showcased their favourite remote facilitation activities. It was amazing and inspiring to see new formats and tools and hear the thought process behind the design.

I highly recommend checking out the Remote Coaches website. They share useful templates and insights. Kirsten and Jay are the founders of the Remote Coaches and the authors of The Remote Facilitators Pocket Guide (also highly recommended). The Remote Coaches also host a monthly meetup where anyone can practice remote facilitation techniques in a safe space and get feedback.

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