No matter what software you use for online meetings or trainings, (Zoom, Google Hangouts, a conference call, GoToMeetings, Blackboard Collaborate, etc.) some technological bumps are unavoidable. To navigate these bumps, it’s important to both plan ahead and also have strategies you can use in the moment. Here are some top tips that apply no matter what software you are using. Get to know your specific software for additional challenges and strategies.
TIPS FOR BEFORE YOUR ONLINE MEETING/TRAINING
⬝ Co–facilitation: Plan to have two facilitators, or one person facilitating and another person helping with technology. If you have co–facilitators, decide who will take the lead on facilitation and who will manage technology for each section. Trying to do everything can be too much for one person and slow you down more when you hit a problem.
⬝ Set–up your space: Recommend to participants how they can choose a space for maximum engagement. The ideal setup includes: a quiet place (reduces background noise and distraction), headphones or a headset (to reduce background noise and audio “feedback”), good lighting (so you can see each other), and a wired/ethernet connection for internet (for best bandwidth).
⬝ Maximize your screen space: For facilitators especially, having two computer screens can help you keep an eye on all the different tools at once. Keeping your meeting/training outline and notes on paper in front of you can also help you manage your screen space.
⬝ Send connection information: Send out your connection or dial in information shortly before the call as well as farther in advance, with a very clear subject line, to make it very easy for people to find the connection information when they need it.
⬝ Encourage connecting early: Especially when you are using software that is new to people, encourage people to join 10 minutes before the call so you have time to settle in and help people with their set up before your meeting or training.
⬝ Have a back–up connection plan: Poor connection or other issues can throw off your whole call. Have a back–up plan (for example a conference call line) in case you need it. If possible, have both email addresses and phone numbers of those who are joining your meeting so you can contact them in different ways if needed.