Feelings Zoomed out? Here’s a list of 25 practices from @UFE to make online meetings/trainings more engaging, equitable, & effective.
We're still learning. What would you add?
- Trim your agenda down to allow time for participation. Help yourself prioritize by asking the question, what do I want to change as a result of this meeting?
- Before creating your agenda ask yourself, why is this content important for these particular participants in this particular moment? Unsure? Ask them beforehand!
- Start with a grounding activity like a breathing exercise to increase focus and zone out distraction. Life and the Internet are full of them.
- Plan extra time in your agenda for mini-tutorials. Before using each new tool like the comments in Zoom or Google Docs, walk participants through step-by-step.
- Make your space intergenerational and expansive! Allow interventions from children, family members & elders with whom others might be sharing space.
- Invite people to keep their cameras on. This helps establish everyone as a teacher and a learner.
- Follow all conversations by asking if anyone without video would like to contribute. Ask for people by name.
- Use a warm-up question near the start, like “Why is this topic important to you?” This helps establish that everyone has a place to speak on the subject at hand.
- Divide into pairs using breakout rooms. This allows everyone to respond to an important question within limited time.
- With a larger group try a visualization activity. This invites participant engagement using their own imaginations & life experience.
- Invite people to use the chat box. Have your co-facilitator monitor comments to address needs and elevate comments and questions.
- Who says you can't still do an energizer over video call? On the other side of the screen are whole bodies, invite people to use them!
- During longer meetings, plan frequent breaks. Encourage people to get up, stretch, walk, drink water, and snack.
- Pose open-ended, rather than closed questions. This helps move your space from a monologue to a dialogue.
- Ask a particular person to respond and then have them pass it to someone who hasn't spoken yet. This prevents prolonged silence, which can lead to distraction.
- Establish an order at the beginning. Have that be your "circle" for everytime you want everyone to respond to a given question or prompt.
- Close all other tabs and windows before participating in an online meeting. This will help you focus on spending quality time with your friends and colleagues.
- Minimize words on slides and other documents. Invite participants to read or to listen, but never at the same time.
- Avoid information overload. Ask yourself, what is the information that is most essential for the particular purpose of this meeting?
- Find creative ways to deliver information, not just slides with text. Try a photo, a poem, a quote, a sound graph...
- Before leaping into action, first assure that your group has worked together to name the problem and explore some of its causes.
- Try following the sequence what, so what, now what. What is the situation we are in? So what might be causing it? Now what do we do about it?
- Don't start to prioritize and critique with your group until all ideas are on the table. This helps address unequal power relations between participants.
- At every video meeting try a new practice. Challenge yourself. Afterward, ask people how it went!
- Allow evaluation at the end of the meeting. What worked for you? What might you do differently? Use this to inform future meetings.
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