Since my last blog about online LEGO Serious Play (LSP), I’ve done quite a few more workshops, and I am still learning lots about what helps online sessions work best.
What really helped was being able to do the same workshop six times in a week! I’ve got a whole bunch of things to say so I’ll get through them in instalments. Here’s the first.
LSP sessions need everyone to be present from the beginning so this presents the issue of what to do with those who arrive late. The first thing I did was to make sure that everyone is aware of the policy in advance. Sadly, many people seem to be comfortable with turning up late to events and then being able to join in. So it probably comes as a jolt to be turned away if you haven’t been warned. But once it is clear that latecomers can’t join, how do you make that work during an online session?
I have alway struggled with how to handle latecomers in face-to-face workshops because once I am in ‘workshop delivery mode’ I find it hard to swap in to ‘admin mode’. You could be in the middle of a deep and cerebral discussion with participants when the door opens and you are faced with someone who wants to know: is this the right workshop? is there a handout? and where would be the best place to sit? All of which can really ruin your train of thought. This can be even worse if you need to turn the person away, and can be a little embarrassing for everyone
However, Zoom has some features to help with this, as you can see in their handy video.
Lock Meeting or Waiting Room?
My first instinct was to use the ‘Lock Meeting’ feature. With no sign of the last participant ten minutes after the advertised start time, I locked the meeting. If you were running a face-to-face workshop, this would be like locking the door to the training venue. No more participants can join and no disturbances from any late comers knocking on the door. This is the trainer’s dream but isn’t always the best solution for the client.
‘Lock Meeting’ worked fine until, as frequently happens, the internet connection of one of the participants fails. The problem was that they had to rejoin the meeting from the meeting invitation but couldn’t get back in because the meeting was locked. Fortunately, it was someone who had been organising the session with me and she was able to send me a WhatsApp message to let me know she was locked out.
So a slightly more flexible feature would help, and this is what the ‘Waiting Room’ feature offers. Using the Waiting Room means that incoming participants are held in a virtual waiting room and you let them in or turn them away at your discretion. And by enabling the audio alert system, you can wait for an appropriate moment to view the waiting room requests to do the necessary admin.