When Coffee Break groups were interrupted by COVID this spring, many made the transition to online. Have you heard some of the stories?
A woman who is house bound due to illness is able to join Coffee Break through zoom.
A busy woman who works shifts has been able to attend more regularly. She can join in her pajamas before getting ready for work!
A woman whose anxiety was keeping her at home can now listen in on the discussion.
A woman who moved across the country could join with her former group.
Young moms can join ‘muted’ while their children play.
As rules about gathering again vary by region, many groups are starting to think about online gatherings for the fall. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Before the meeting:
- Familiarize yourself with the Zoom platform before your meeting! Watch a training video and explore the settings, learn how to use breakout rooms.
- Make sure you have adequate lighting on your face. Sit facing a window, not in front of one which will make your face appear dark.
- Make sure your space is quiet; use earbuds to limit background noise.
- Raise your laptop to your eye level (your face will look better). Make sure your face is centered in the screen.
- When you host, be sure to log on 10-15 minutes early to welcome, and to give instructions as needed for those who connect.
- Welcome with enthusiasm and by name, so that everyone feels they have been ‘seen’.
- Encourage participants to show their video but be sure to allow anyone to remain hidden if they prefer. Some may have reasons for not wanting to show themselves or their home.
- Give initial instructions:
- Mute when not talking or use earbuds/headphones
- Point out the gallery view option (multiple faces) vs. speaker view (only one).
- How to give a thumbs up or raise their hand.
- Typing in the chat
- Encourage everyone to practice with the chat by asking a warm-up question and have people give their responses in the chat.
- Acknowledge that this feels awkward—it’s not as good as meeting in person, but it is a great alternative.
- As a leader, be more direct, inviting people by name to read, or to answer a question.
- Be willing to wait for responses—it takes longer for someone to ‘unmute’ etc.
- Encourage additional answers in the chat if preferred.
- Offer encouragement and affirmation as you would in your group.
- Use exaggerated motions—head nodding or thumbs up.
- Consider sending an email afterwards asking, “What will you do this week, because of what you have learned?”
Here’s a video on our Facebook page with tips as well: https://www.facebook.com/CoffeeBreakGroups/videos/247788353087224
As you consider all the women in your group, remember those who don’t have the internet, or who may struggle with zoom. Consider picking up the phone and calling those who may struggle with the technology. It’s so good to hear each other’s voices, and just offer an encouraging word.
What have you discovered in your zoom group? What are some ways that you’ve found to add to the experience of online Bible study. What tips can you share with others?