And then…my whole wide world went Zoom.
Love it or loathe it Zoom has become a large part of our lives. From virtual pub quizzes to virtual learning Zoom is here to stay.
As a facilitator, have you thought about how Zoom can support your facilitation processes? What has really piqued my interest is the use of Zoom Whiteboards to support the collaboration and co-creation of ideas.
Here are three ways you can use Zoom whiteboards for facilitation:
- Establishing a Group Contract/Working Agreement
As a facilitator you may, at the beginning of a session, invite a group to share the norms and behaviours they feel need to be in place in order for everyone to get the most of the session. Using a Zoom whiteboard for this exercise makes it particularly collaborative. Instead of the facilitator noting what each person says, individuals themselves use the ‘Annotate’ tool on Zoom to draw or type in their responses, thus co-creating the group contract.
Dot voting is a great way to garner opinion on a topic or decision. In a real-life setting ideas are shared using post-it notes on a flipchart or wall, then each person is given a certain number of dot stickers which they then go and place next to their preferred idea(s).
With a Zoom whiteboard a facilitator can note down ideas in text on the Whiteboard and participants can vote on their ideas using the Stamp function within the Annotate menu. Stamp gives us the ability to add a green tick (or heart for example) beside our preferred idea. An added bonus is that the voting process is anonymous (unless you use the arrow for stamping; as a facilitator exclude that from the options), thus reducing (in part) group think bias.
- Checking in for understanding
This can be used in many ways, one way for example is to check to ensure everyone has a shared understanding of a problem. Using the Breakout function break people into groups and invite them to draw out the problem. The whiteboard function in Zoom allows people to draw on the whiteboard at the same time. Smaller groups can work together scribbling on the board, drawing out their shared understanding.
I hope this has given you some food for thought for your next facilitation session. Do make sure that you regularly familiarise yourselves with the latest Zoom security updates.
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This month’s article is by Osbert Lancaster. Here he shares an invaluable technique for engaging participants in a workshop setting.
‘I’d already sidled out of the previous workshop. If I left this one too, I’d be wasting more of my time and money. So instead of walking out, I decided to step up.
“Unconferences” – where participants offer, and then lead, workshop sessions on topics they choose, are a great concept. But if that person, whatever their other qualities, doesn’t have some basic presentation and facilitation skills…
The speaker talked aimlessly about their chosen topic. Once the participants realised this wasn’t what they’d expected, they became restless and then resigned, checking their phones or staring out of the window.
I’d had enough. “Excuse me James,” I interrupted. Everyone looked up. “I’m not sure we’re all following you. Could we turn this around and ask you some questions about topic X?” A bit brutal, but the best I could come up with. James actually looked a bit relieved.
I turned to the others, “Can I suggest we spend a few moments talking with our neighbour about the things we most want to know about topic X? Does anyone have any objections? It that OK James?”
No one hesitated. The room was soon buzzing. After a short while I invited everyone to tell us all what came up in their paired discussion. A few themes quickly emerged and James was able to share his very real expertise – this time addressing the specific issues the participants wanted to know about.
“Turn and talk” is a really effective and simple activity – not just for workshops, but also for meetings. Used near the start it gets everyone in the room talking, so they are all confident to join in later, preventing a few people dominating discussion. It’s a great way to take the temperature: to hear people’s issues and concerns which can then be addressed or otherwise taken forward. It can also help with difficult decisions as people are more comfortable talking one on one than to the whole group, and more people’s views and ideas are heard.’
Osbert Lancaster is a facilitator of sustainability-related events and a specialist in green behaviour change based in Edinburgh. He believes in the power of conversation. Read his 11 suggestions to make conferences a space for great conversations.
Ever feel stuck?
Simple drawings are a powerful tool to shift us from a feeling of inertia to one of clarity and control.
If you’re grappling with a problem and haven’t been able to settle on a solution try drawing it out.
By simply drawing out the who, what, when and where of your problem you will soon start to see aspects you hadn’t considered till now. This act of putting pen to paper, of thinking visually allows for new ideas to form and solutions to emerge.
Want to take it further? Here’s your step by step guide (with thanks to David Sibbet):
1. Focus the issue – who, what, when, where
2. Start brainstorming solutions – one idea per post-it
3. Group the notes and label the headings
4. Discuss each proposal
5. Vote on the most promising
6. Discuss top three – pros/cons of each option.
7. Make decision
This becomes particularly powerful when we start working as a group to solve problems and several ideas emerge.
Solving problems as a group and not sure everyone has bought into the decision? Tune in next week for a quick technique that tests this and ensures everyone is on the same page.
To tap into your creative problem solving skills don’t forget to book onto next week’s Secrets of Simple Graphics course on April 26th 2019 Book now >>