How can we lead good, interactive online meetings?

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So many online meetings these days that are just talking heads on Zoom! How can we make them more engaging? How can we actually brainstorm, come up with a common vision or make group decisions online if that’s all we’ve got?

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Asked on November 17, 2020
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I'm a believer in having attendees read material to respond or critique prior to a discussion.
( at December 2, 2020)
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Two free solutions to check out for ZOOM events are:
BigStage.Online - a means to add 'call-to-action' buttons (such as Donate, Register, Volunteer) and feature sponsors in a panel that runs in a browser window next to your Zoom session. Presenters in the Zoom session can ask their viewers to click on one of the buttons which directs them to the URL you have set. This happens while they are still watching the presentation. The buttons go straight to your donation page so you get 100% of what was contributed. The buttons can be configured without programming and can also be used to conduct online surveys.
https://thedemlabs.org/2020/07/20/fundraise-better-on-zoom/
https://thedemlabs.org/2020/07/14/hiphop-politics-on-the-bigstage/

BigStageTeleprompter.online - A free on-screen teleprompter into which you post your script that scrolls by while you're presenting. This lets you maintain eye-contact while presenting on Zoom. 
https://thedemlabs.org/2020/12/21/stick-to-the-script-use-an-on-screen-teleprompter/
https://thedemlabs.org/2020/09/22/teleprompter-compatible-with-zoom/

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Answered on January 7, 2021
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Second the recommendation for Training for Change made above, they are great and have produced a bunch of super useful resources, including their google slides templates which we have used a bunch for interactive online meetings and workshops: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1tIbShvdlP4_Oz0CfeNSXq7vZiFrWLafSww-puulYKcI/copy (in Spanish here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1mqNMm2uoSWPUx4_LOZA-BMCrX_tcV0SVgh5yETkU2RQ/copy and they have a bunch more free materials here: https://www.trainingforchange.org/tools/?topic%5B2%5D=2&searchbox=).

A few of my colleagues have also taken Spring's Virtual High Impact Factilitation Intensive training and highly recommend it: https://www.springstrategies.org/hifi_virtual_march2021

I'm personally a fan of keeping things simple and just using interactive google slide templates as much as possible. There are loads of great remote collaboration tools out there (Mural, Miro, Padlet, etc.) but the advantage of using google slides is that a) most people are already familiar with using it so requires little explanation before you do interactive exercises on slides and b) you can keep everything in one place. When you have limited time for an online workshop / meeting, you can end up spending quite a lot of it getting people onto a different platform and explaining how to use it and then you can also end up with information in different places (e.g. some in a presentation and others in a Miro board) which can then make it more difficult when it comes to writing up everything after your meeting / workshop. However, if you're running a longer process that involves a series of online workshops / meetings, rather than just a one-off meeting, then choosing a single platform like Miro or Mural to use throughout the process can definitely be a good shout. 

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Answered on January 6, 2021
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A good step by step from the folks at FabRiders

https://www.fabriders.net/canvas-draft/

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Answered on December 20, 2020
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Here's a cool resource from Jeff Stec of Citizens for Civic Renewal called "Using Zoom for Community Engagement", which was funded by The Stephen H. Wilder Foundation: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JIDBXPnX7O2LkeRkZMCPYUY-kvSFiJBk/view?usp=sharing

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Answered on December 16, 2020
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We worked with Training for Change in the past.  The work they do is excellent.

https://www.trainingforchange.org/public_workshops/facilitating-virtual-meetings/

BY THE END OF THE TRAINING, YOU WILL…

Recognize key challenges to engagement and inclusion in remote meetings and how to prepare for them.

Acquire tools for effective and inclusive decision-making and communication in remote teams that you can apply immediately.

Recognize how your face-to-face facilitation, communication and problem-solving techniques can be applied online.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND THIS WORKSHOP?

People whose rely on technology to build their teams remotely and want to increase their effectivity using interactive and experiential tools. We welcome a range of experiences – from beginner online facilitators to those with more experience. Some face-to-face facilitation experience is helpful for this training.

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Answered on December 6, 2020
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As another possible resource, my university colleagues recommended Doug Shaw's presentations and workshops. I haven't seen them firsthand, but folks spoke highly of them.

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Answered on November 24, 2020
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Blueprints also issued a solid guide on best practices for Online/Offline meetings, with input from our helper, Mary Alice Crim.  /

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Answered on November 18, 2020
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Amara Possian created this amazing interactive workshop on exactly this. It has a bunch of useful tools like spectrums & stickies. Feel free to make a copy of the deck, and then to pick and choose the slides that are useful to you. (Just a head's up that because it was an interactive workshop, the deck doesn't explain *everything* but it's still really useful). Here's a link so you can make a copy of that deck and customize for yourselves.

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Answered on November 17, 2020