When Zoom attacks, will you know what to do?

Whether you’re using Zoom, Webex, Adobe Connect or any other virtual meeting platform, chances are that you’re going to run into technical difficulties at some point, especially when you try using features intended to make a session more interactive.

Recently, my colleague Lauren Wescott delivered a highly acclaimed session on the role of the producer in virtual meetings. The producer has many responsibilities, and among those responsibilities is the need to quickly troubleshoot and think on their feet. If a virtual feature is giving you fits, the producer may need to help nudge the facilitator in the right direction to move past the technical difficulty.

Following are a few common mishaps, and a handful of immediate steps to move beyond these issues without derailing your whole session.

Issue #1: You launch a poll but nobody can see it on their screens.

Suggested responses from the participants of our most recent webinar:

  • Close, then re-launch the poll
  • Read the poll, the possible choices, then ask participants to share their responses in the chat
  • Read the poll, then read one possible choice at a time, asking participants to use the yes/no indicators at the bottom of the participant list
  • Ask participants to turn their cameras on and raise their hand (or use the raise hand indicator at the bottom of the participant list) when you read each choice of the poll

Issue #2: You’ve launched breakout rooms which seem to work for most people, but a handful are “stuck” in the main room and cannot get into their assigned breakout room.

Suggested responses:

  • Attempt to assign them to a different breakout room.
  • Attempt to assign all of the “stragglers” to their own breakout room.
  • Moderate their breakout room within the main room.

Issue #3: Your facilitator is in the middle of an activity in which participants have been asked to use the annotation tool when a participant private chats you (the producer) to let you know they can’t find the annotation tools.

Suggested responses:

  • Have a short image-based “how to” document or brief explainer video ready to send to any participant who is struggling with this particular feature.
  • Check to see if anyone else is having the same problem, and pause the activity briefly for a short tutorial for how to access the annotation tools.
  • Suggest that the participant send you their responses via chat and you can add notes to the screen with your annotation tool.

Issue #4: You emailed worksheets for the session ahead of time, but when the facilitator references a specific worksheet, a number of participants say they never received it.

Suggested responses:

  • Send the worksheets via email once again.
  • Attach the files into the chat. (To do this, you’ll need to be sure the “share files” feature is turned on in your settings.)
  • Have a URL/link for the worksheets that you can paste into the chat.

While these are four of the more common issues we’ve seen with virtual sessions, there are plenty of other issues that may come up as well. The key to remember is that there are also a handful of ways to address any issue that comes up.

What are some other issues that you’ve found more common when it comes to virtual sessions? Drop your thoughts into the comment section.

If you’d like a free, quick reference guide for how to use the features on any of the most popular virtual meeting and presentation platforms (including Zoom, Webex, Teams, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, GoToTraining and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra), click here.

3 thoughts on “When Zoom attacks, will you know what to do?

  1. Great suggestions to consider for any platform. One of the biggest things to remember is to not get flustered when technology issues arise because technology issues will happen.

    • Yep, just working on your “don’t panic” muscle is essential any time you’re working with technology!! (Of course, this is much easier said than done.)

  2. Thanks for the tips! I’ve had a few of those very issues you named in past virtual sessions. Those quick fixes will be helpful if they ever occur again.

    I know when my organization first started using web sessions after the pandemic started last year, we found it important to provide either a tutorial and/or guide that explained to the students how to use the platform. After a couple sessions, we realized that if we didn’t provide this to them before the meeting or training session, individuals were not focused on the content we were discussing as much as they were playing with the buttons or private chatting each other. This also alleviated questions we received from individuals, particularly regarding their audio and video concerns.

    Also, while not Zoom related, our organization often uses Facebook Live to reach a broader audience. The problem with these public forums comes from the internet trolls that enter the chat and leave inappropriate remarks or images. I’m not sure if there is a way disable such trolls on Facebook Live, but I know there is on Zoom has been working on strengthening their security from so-called “Zoombombers.”

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