We are officially in a post pandemic workspace now. What does that mean? We probably are managing remote teams, figuring out smarter ways to work, and meeting more efficiently.
By efficient, we mean that you are probably using some type of video conferencing software to communicate with your teams and leaders, and also to train them. Well, pre-pandemic, we used all sorts of ways to keep meetings and training interesting (aka keeping folks awake!). For example, different icebreakers, activities, even small water cooler discussions before launching the meeting served as a way to engage people more.
According to Forbes.com, Zoom is the best overall video conferencing solution. Forbes.com gave Zoom a 4.9 out of 5 for favorites among readers. So, you’re probably using Zoom, and if you are, here are some great features that will turn your meeting or training from forgettable to fantastic.
Nothing says activity time like Breakout rooms. Teaching online can be frustrating for those students who learn hands on. Break out rooms are a way for learners to receive information in an isolated environment with a few others. Discussion sessions, quiz games, and other activities can be performed all while being able to come back together in the end for a debrief. The host can control the number of people in the room, the minutes allowed for time management’s sake, and the host can randomize the participants in each room or manually choose who is in each room – a MUST HAVE if conducting an engaging presentation!
The reason I love polls is because it is another way to engage your team and make sure they are all paying attention. You can ask questions many different ways, but polls allow you to make sure everyone is participating. It will give you a counter of how many eligible people have voted as well as the results. You have the option of sharing the results with the group when done, which is a cool way to show the team what everyone else is thinking while the participants can remain anonymous. It is an invaluable way of making sure the message you are sending is getting home or not as anonymity will allow your learners to be honest so that you can ensure knowledge transfer. Controversial topics are great for polling because of anonymity as well. Polls are readily available on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen in zoom.
Nothing spells boring like watching a bunch of videos or pictures in Zoom. It’s that time of the meeting where you may just slip off and grab a quick snack or close your eyes for a few. The annotation tool allows you, as the host, to ensure that folks are still present and paying attention. This tool will allow the participants to place emojis on the item you are sharing with them. You can use this feature to communicate (“Give me a check if you like this pic, or an x if you don’t like this pic”). The annotation tool is visible when you share your screen. Attendees can choose from a few symbols like a checkmark, x, or smile emoji, to a text box and a host of many shapes.
I like to call folks up to the board when I’m teaching in person and ask them to write or fill in the answers for something we are learning. Unfortunately, meeting online eliminates one of my favorite activities. However, the whiteboard feature in Zoom allows you to do bring the whiteboard experience back to your class or meeting! You can share a clear whiteboard if you are asking for tips on answering certain questions or making lists for the class. The best part about Whiteboard is there are hundreds of uses and they give you templates for all of them! Create a brainstorming session with your team or break the ice in a team meeting to get to know one another (2 truths and a lie!). Unlike an app that you have to download, this feature can be found on the bottom toolbar of your screen in Zoom.
The items we have discussed up until now have been all about the embedded features of Zoom. However, since 2020 it has evolved and formed partnerships with great companies that will allow your meetings and trainings to go over the top. Apps cover many categories like project management, presentations, and collaboration. There are many quiz apps such as Kahoot! that engage your audience in a fun way and there are even apps for meditation and mental health. Zoom has formed a partnership with Calm which will allow your team to sign in and meditate while listening to gentle sounds or soft words from many of the apps’ celebrity contributors. The possibilities of fun and productivity are endless when you access the apps menu. Many require you to download or create a separate membership to sign in, so do your research before planning to use the tool.