Check out the video below for a brief orientation on online groups at Fusion Church.
Online Tips and Tricks
Online groups have challenges just like any other kind of group. The best way to have a successful online group is to know what to expect, and to prepare with the following steps:
1. Get Oovoo installed on your device
We will be using Oovoo.com’s video chat platform to host the groups. You can sign up at www.oovoo.com. If using a mobile device, download the app from the Apple App Store or Android marketplace. It is important that you do this ahead of time so that your leader can easily invite you to the conversation. Your group leader may also send you a request via Oovoo, so that you can sign up via an email link. Once you become acquainted with your other group members, you can “friend request” them for future convenience.
2. Use Headphones or Earbuds
Background noise and echo from bad equipment can really derail a group. But there’s one sure-fire way to prevent it: Wear a headset. A headset ensures that the microphone and speakers never interact with each other and saves you the embarrassment of being asked to mute yourself. Without headphones you and all your group members WILL experience an echo that can be rather annoying. It is best if your headphones have a built in microphone as well. Many newer earbuds come with a mic built into the cable. Also, earbuds that come with most cell phones will have a microphone built in. These are all great options.
3. Get to a quiet place
Because we will have up to 8 people sharing video and audio feeds, noise needs to be minimized. Put your children to bed, turn off the TV or the dishwasher, or go to a room where you can shut out the noise. If something happens during a group, like a dog barking or your child needs something, please mute the microphone for the benefit of the group.
4. Expect Technical Mishaps
The internet is never 100% reliable. Someone in your group can have a bad connection or their power might go out. The video quality might be okay while the sound is bad, or vice versa. Anything can happen. Oovoo provides an excellent alternative if someone is having bandwidth problems. Simply click the text chat bubble and you can continue to participate with everyone via text chat.
5. Stay Focused
Ninety percent of communication is from non-verbal cues. Just because you’re not in the same room as the other meeting attendees you need to use the same common courtesies as if you were all together. Show interest and pay attention, this will help keep everyone invested and active in the conversation.
6. Look into that camera
Having a webcam isn’t enough to improve communication – you also need to make sure it’s pointed it at your face. Sounds obvious enough, but be sure to check your own webcam feed from time to time. We want to see YOU, not your feet or ceiling when you are talking.
For further information on signing up and video chatting, check out this link.