Orienting Your Audience to Zoom Features

So many of us have been teaching via Zoom for so long that we may assume that everyone is familiar with Zoom and all of its features. Whether providing a workshop or teaching a class, it’s definitely a good idea to have familiarize participants with the tools that will be needed prior to launching into the presentation.

Here’s an example of a slide after my title and agenda slides:

So worth it to have everyone feel competent (and hopefully excited going into the presentation). I may not use all of these in a workshop, so would edit the slide as need be. Part of my rationale for using these different tools is definitely audience engagement, but I also want participants to leave their time with me having an extra bonus they didn’t realize they were getting, i.e., some cool new tech tools that they can use to improve their own presentations! Plus, if you have them in breakout rooms for even a couple of minutes, they’ll leave the presentation with an increased network.

If you think of it as a warmup activity, you’ll start your presentation with an engaged audience. So you could have a practice slide that has the agenda on it and ask them to mark on the agenda which of the items they are most excited about. They can use the stamp button or a text or make their mark. On that same slide, you might have a poll pre-prepared with the agenda items on them so they can practice voting. You could then have them move to breakout rooms for a 2 minute meet&greet and to come up with one more item they are interested in talking about, and when they come back, have them write their ideas in the chat.

If you want to entertain questions throughout the presentation, you’ll want to set up the rules for that, especially with a larger group. If I have a large group, I’ll typically ask someone to monitor the chat for me and let me know if a question comes in that way. I’ll also make sure to make a note in my notes at the end of every couple of slides to pause for and ask for questions.

Teaching about technology isn’t usually the focus of any of my presentations, so I wouldn’t ever do all of the activities on the slide above. However, I deeply desire for my participants to feel like the material I’m sharing is of value to them, and believe that if they can take the content I’m sharing and integrate it with their own experiences, they’ll learn something of value, and when they share that knowledge with the group, in turn, we all will.

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