Here are ten top tips on how to put some much needed va va Zoom into your virtual meetings and collaboration – Part Deux!

Tired, exhausted, fatigued by virtual meetings? Here are ten top tips on how to put some much needed va va Zoom into your virtual meetings and collaboration – Part Deux!

Virtual meetings burnout is a real thing, if you Google it there are literally hundreds of articles on the subject. As virtual event designers, hosts, facilitators and producers, we continue to be pushed to new limits.

It is important to note, our clients clearly have certain preferences and/or parameters within which they work when it comes to digital platforms and tools that they use for virtual meetings and events.

These tips are based on what we’ve seen work well as experienced facilitators and not tech experts – this does not mean there aren’t different platforms and solutions emerging, or already out there that would suit your needs. We continue to be on the lookout (so please share if you have other suggestions!) but we have attempted to highlight below what we think works well for our clients.

  1.  Meetings, workshops, team meetups etcwe still find Zoom to be the best platform for sheer stability, especially when dealing with volume of participants, low cost barriers to entry and ease of access, especially using mobile data. The breakout rooms functionality is very intuitive and allows for great participant engagement. It now has many apps integrated in it, such as its improved Whiteboard facility. Make sure you always download the latest version.
  2. Virtual conferences, forums, summits etcRemo is by far our favourite platform. Again, ability to really connect and collaborate in event, low-cost barrier, flexibility and ease of use are cited as some of the main reasons.
  3. Co-development toolsthe opportunity to leverage Jamboard, Mural, Miro in combination with a virtual meeting room set up like Zoom helps you to have truly interactive, co-development type sessions. By using functions like post-it notes, you can increase the engagement exponentially of participants.
  4. Polling, quizzes, word clouds etcthese tools come into their own in both formal and informal virtual meeting settings. We have used both Mentimeter and Slido with great success in conjunction with Zoom when facilitating virtual meetings, workshops and meetups. Using polling, quiz and word cloud functions can really pull participants into the discussions as well as give you live feedback to the session.
  5. Close captions real-time, transcript and translation. – virtual meetings are a challenge from an inclusion perspective, much has been written about how those with disabilities struggle in the virtual meeting environment. A number of virtual meeting setups allow for real-time close captions. Zoom offers free and AI-based live closed captioning, as well as transcripts and key languages, which is good news. 
  6. Recording and editingwhilst many of the virtual meeting room products let you record the sessions; you may also want to also consider using a tool like Loom or OBS (which we will discuss later) which allow you to record your screen. This can be particularly useful if you’re considering packaging up the event as an online download available to a broader audience (eg as a training module).
  7. Meeting collaborationwe use both Trello and Google docs to plan our meetings to great effect. With channels open to all the relevant team they can be used for both synchronous and asynchronous working to great effect. Trello boards in particular can be very helpful to break down a project into manageable actions and deliverables. Depending on the meeting a back channel can be useful. For this a WhatsApp group, or Voxer, are very effective for live and ongoing team communications.
  8. Following up discussionsUsing an effective tool like Slack to share information with participants both pre and post an event can enable the community to engage with each other and you.
  9. Presentation and streaming aids – OBS and mmhmm are (in most cases free) tools that allow you to share your device as your camera, which makes for much quicker transitions and added functionality when presenting. (Although they are supposed to work with both, OBS seems to be best used on l windows driven laptops and PCs, whereas mmhmm is closer aligned to IOS/Apple.)
  10.  A note on hardwarestand-alone webcams, headsets or ear pods and green screens – we have briefly written about these elements in the insight mentioned below. To be honest, we have no specific recommendations to make on these. It really is a case of personal preference and trial and error. We would add though that a corporate branded green screen (which you can designed in Powerpoint or Canva and uploaded into Zoom) depending on the context of the meeting or event, can be a really nice touch! Finally, critical is the power of your device. If you regularly present, having at least an i5 or preferably an i7 processor is a must and that it is updated to the latest version of whatever platform you are using.

(If you are still interested in knowing a bit more about the structuring and facilitating of virtual meetings that pack a punch, then we suggest you revisit our earlier blog on five top tips to plan and host successful virtual meetings., which still applies today.)

James Hasler and Rebecca Hill are both principal consultants at HaslerHill Consulting, an organisation specialising in moderation, facilitation and curation of events, as well as as presentation skills and public speaking skills training. If you would like to learn more about the services they offer and how they can be of benefit to your business, please get in touch via the HaslerHill Consulting contact page or call +44(0) 7773 229909 jameshaslervoice TMITRC and Wise Sherpa

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