‘When Things Go Wrong’-Protocol
It helps to anticipate and set expectations ahead of the meeting about what participants should do in a range of quite common “What if” scenarios. Here is a (not exhaustive) list of what these could be:
When they just can’t get into the meeting – Should they wait x amount of minutes and try again? Should they call/email a you, your co-host or another specific person?
When they are in the meeting but their connection is really bad – Should they turn off their camera and participate to the best of their ability using voice/reactions/the chat? Should they put a message in the chat to let you know that they’re having problems?
When they get kicked out or leave of the meeting for whatever reason – Should they try to sign into the meeting again?
When they have to answer the door, help out a crying to a child or take an urgent phone call – Should they turn their mic and/or camera off? Should they put something in the chat or send a reaction?
When they have a genuine emergency – “In case of a fire abandon the session and your device and just get to safety” – Make it clear that in a genuine emergency, it is safety first, no need to put anything in the chat!
Communicating the protocols
Some of these (problems with joining a meeting), you’ll want to communicate ahead of the first session. You can, for example, include them in the email containing the ‘How to join’ details.
The others you can talk about at the beginning of the first session as a bit of online housekeeping (along with Rules and Expectations, see the Planning Interactive Sessions section), and again whenever you feel a reminder is useful.
A note on emergencies
Emergencies – medical or otherwise – can occur in any circumstances. To be able to act and call for help when you witness an emergency over video call, it might be a good idea to confirm participants’ location at the beginning of a session. If you are simply asking them to confirm whether they are at their at their home address (which you already have), make sure you have those details at hand during training – you don’t want to have to sift through your files or call the office in an emergency.
If you are asking participants to send you the addresses they are at during a training session, make sure they have a way to do so confidentially (i.e. not in the chatbox where everybody can see) and treat this information, like you would in any other circumstances, in accordance with your data protection guidelines and GDPR.