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Helping non-tech savvy participants with online meetings: Part 2

Not everyone is going to be comfortable with online meetings even though that continues to be what we are primarily doing in order to connect with our partners, colleagues, families and friends. Hopefully, you have tried some of the “tips” from last week’s post on helping non-tech savvy participants with online meetings. If you missed it, click here. This week, we are continuing our conversation with four more practical “tips” to help our non-tech savvy partners be successful with participating and even presenting on online meetings.

  1. Use Zoom. I know there are many different online meeting platforms and some work better than others. While it’s not perfect, zoom tends to be the most user-friendly and effective online meeting platform that I’ve tried. They also do an excellent job of creating brief “tutorial resources” to help with challenges related to using the software. 
  2. Use Google Chrome or Firefox. Some of the greatest challenges I’ve encountered related to technology issues for my partners, colleagues or family members occur when they are using a browser other than Google Chrome or Firefox for online meetings. You (or your IT guru) may need to walk them through how to download a different browser to their computer if they don’t already have it. 
  3. Ask lots of questions. If someone is struggling with online meetings and getting technology to work, we have to ask lots of questions (in a supportive and encouraging way) in order to understand what may be happening. For instance, get specific. What do you see on the bottom of your screen? Do you see the “mute” button? What happens when you left click on the arrow that is beside the “mute” button? 
  4. Prepare back-up plans. Include a “call-in” number option as well as the online meeting option so that even if the computer audio or video isn’t working, participants can still participate. Give instructions to the participants on how they can participate if they are on the phone and cannot necessarily see the screen. Remind them that if they want to “unmute” they need to use *6 to unmute their lines (just unmuting their phone will not work).  You may also want to provide an email address to participants where they can email questions to one of your team members who can put the questions in the chat box on their behalf. As a facilitator, it is very important that you try to engage all participants in your meeting regardless of their level of technology. You may want to keep some reminder prompts on a notecard handy so that you remember how to help participants fully engage regardless of what their technology is!

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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