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Helping non-tech savvy participants with online meetings: Part 1

We have finished our official “top 10 online meeting tip series;” however, some of you have requested a bit more help on helping non-tech savvy participants be successful with online meetings. Just because we have moved all of our meetings to be online meetings doesn’t mean that it’s easy for everyone to participate. We need to be mindful that some of our partners and participants may continue to struggle with online meetings and are not sure what to do to figure it out. While there are no “one size fits all” solutions to helping non-tech savvy participants, we are going to spend the next two weeks highlighting some practical ideas that may help! Join me this week as I highlight the first three tips for helping non-tech savvy participants with online meetings.

  1. Be patient. For those who are struggling with technology, the last thing they need is for someone to “hurry through” instructions or guidance on how to get something to work. They may be embarrassed and feel incompetent and when we are impatient and they need empathy and encouragement to help them be successful in geting the online platform to work. If you find yourself becoming impatient, try to think of the most challenging thing for YOU to do and picture yourself in that place as you are helping the non-tech savvy partner. Also, be encouraging. If they are able to figure out one aspect of the technology, then celebrate that “small win” with them. As they become more confident and practice, they will be more successful.
  2. Schedule a “pre-meeting” test. If someone has let you know that they want to participate but are having challenges with participating, it’s a great idea to schedule a “pre-meeting” test with them. If this non-tech savvy partner is presenting or speaking, then they definitely need to do a “pre-meeting dress rehearsal” to figure this out. You can walk through the technology and troubleshoot before the meeting occurs. Also, during this pre-meeting test, you may want to use technology they are comfortable with in order to help them be more comfortable with the online meeting technology. For instance, I recently was helping someone who was very comfortable with FaceTime on their phone so we did a FaceTime and then I had her flip her camera to her computer screen in order to “see” what she saw and help her figure out how to address the challenges.
  3. Seek help. You may have an IT guru on your team and can include this person in your “pre-meeting” test. The IT guru is usually able to troubleshoot many different scenarios and can help walk through what may need to be adjusted to get things to work. Another good option is to encourage the non-tech savvy partner to have a family member or close friend join in on the “pre-meeting” test as well. When someone can be in-person with the non-tech savvy person, it can build confidence and support and they can see what is happening on their end. You can also connect this person to someone for the “day of” the meeting to provide support. As I discussed in a previous post, garner support from your team and have different members of your team providing different roles. Also, your team doesn’t have to all be part of your staff. If you have a particularly tech savvy volunteer, engage him or her in being that “day of” technology support.

So what about you? What are you going to try to help your non-tech savvy partners participate in your next online meeting?

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