We are excited to host the Colorado Conference on Volunteerism in a virtual format this year. As we all have been learning new tips and tricks for engaging with one another online, here are some of our recommendations to help you have the best experience.
Log in to the conference early. Set your appointment reminder to go off five or ten minutes before the scheduled event start time, and log in early. Doing so gives you time to download software, test the connection, enter your identifying information, ask questions that you want to see covered during the session, and be part of the “quorum” that the host sees as sufficient audience size to start their content delivery.
Mute your audio if lines are open to all participants. While our Zoom platform will be set to mute participants when they join, it will help us if you double check. Keep yourself muted whenever you are not speaking. This helps avoid unwanted background noises that can distract other participants.
If participating via phone, NEVER push the “HOLD” button on your phone. That often plays music over the line, which stops a webinar dead in its tracks.
Be an active participant. Provide your input to polls and respond to requests for comments or questions. Speak up when you have a question. Let your presenter know what you are most interested in learning about. Don’t wish it… Suggest it! The chat box will be turned on and monitored throughout sessions.
Be respectful. Keep your contributions helpful and considerate of the host and other participants. Arguing about or belittling somebody else’s comment is not productive. Instead, you can say that you have a different perspective or different experience, which extends the conversation rather than shutting it down.
Stay Focused. Staying focused drains energy, so it’s only human to seek distractions. Do not beat yourself up over it. Rather try to eliminate all the possible temptations beforehand, so that even if you want to, you cannot access social media or emails, etc. during a session. Have snacks handy so you don’t need to get up during the session.
Take notes. Write down key points to help your knowledge stick in your brain rather than evaporate after the webinar. When you are typing, you are less limited by the factor of time, and may be tempted to simply transcribe the webinar content, which makes your learning highly ineffective. So, take written notes of the most critical concepts, and you will get the most benefit out of a webinar.
Provide feedback. It can be very hard for hosts to tell how the experience was from the audience viewpoint. Help them improve their webinars to better match your needs and preferences by letting them know what worked well and what didn’t work for you. Most of our presenters will provide their contact information and we will also be sending out a survey of the entire conference.