I can honestly say there are a number of reasons I like Zoom better than live!
Here are some of my favorite Zoom features.
1) Simultaneous Response.
When in a Zoom room every single participant can respond at the same time. I love the level up of engagement. Try questions like these:
Each of these opportunities allows for multiple people to respond at the same time. When I came on staff at Worship Center and started teaching more live classes, I found it tricky to engage people when they had to respond one at a time.
Try the chat feature – even in your small groups, it can be great for short responses.
There is a tab called reactions at the bottom that you can click and add the handclap emoji, or the “win” emoji to your square for a moment. This is a great way to affirm something the speaker is saying without using sound to interrupt.
The speaker and also ask for visual responses. “Raise your hand if…”, or “Wave at me if…”, I guess you could do those live as well, but it seems a little more natural online to me.
Many of our more sensitive Support & Recovery groups have had a lot more engagement since they moved online. I think some of these groups will not move back to meeting live when we can.
I’m also thinking that people who are hesitant to join such a group might be more likely to try it if they can join from their own home and feel safer if they know they could leave the meeting at the click of a button.
4) No distance barrier.
We can meet with people from anywhere all in the same Zoom room. We’ve been doing that for years at Bridges Coaching. We have at least 20 states and 4 countries represented in our alumni!
This is HUGE for churches with people who would like to be in small groups but live a ways away. There are no worries about the distance when we meet together online.
5) No travel time.
To get to the meeting room, you just click. To get home, you just blink and you are there.
6) Minimal prep needed.
The host does not need to do any special cleaning or cooking to prepare for guests.
7) Personalized snacks.
Each participant can have whatever they want just how they like it. There is no need to inquire about gluten-free or lactose intolerant snacks. And there is no pressure to partake. (For some this can be tricky.)
8) No germ sharing/natural social distancing
Two months ago I would never have thought to list that as a value add, but it seems a pretty important one right now.
9) Break out rooms.
To my knowledge Zoom is the only online video host that allows people to split up into smaller groups for discussion. This works great in a class setting, but could also be used for small groups. You can use the random setting, but I prefer manually choosing who goes together. It only takes a minute and it a nice way to connect in pairs or smaller groups.
Remember, the people on Zoom are real people. I know you can’t hug them, and it is different than connecting live, but let’s take stock in all the positive features Zoom offer and keep meeting together!
One final thought – you’ll probably enjoy your Zoom meetings a LOT more if you practice this one tip.
10) The culture of honor.
Done well the culture of honor includes everyone sharing and heightens the participation level. This is best done by ALWAYS having the host or leader choose the first person and then norming that the sharer chooses the next person. This avoids two people sharing at the same time or wasted silence when no one is sure who is supposed to go next.
We'll all be glad when we can gather together in person, but I wonder if some of us will continue doing our small groups online? Either way, for this season we can still do life together!
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