As I write this, online meetings are becoming an increasingly common part of our regular routine. Kids participating in online classrooms. Parents working from home. Church services livestreamed. Medical consults, therapy sessions, and business meetings offered via video conferencing platforms.
During the past 8 years, my team and I have learned online events and meetings can be just as transformational as in-person experiences – even moreso, if you come in properly prepared.
My organization, the Institute for Cultural Communicators, has conducted dozens of live local and global events through our online platforms. Countless families around the world have been touched by these events, participating and interacting to experience genuine, life-giving community as they learn and are inspired.
While preparing for the online world tour of our Communicators for Christ conferences this fall, my team developed an extraordinary list of tips to help families get the most out of their conference experience.
We think that this preparation checklist can help you be fully present and ready to have the best experience possible – whatever the online course, meeting, or conference.
Online Experience Preparation Checklist
Clear your schedule to focus your energy
- Reschedule appointments or activities that conflict with the dates of your event.
- Anticipate and eliminate any interruptions you are likely to encounter.
- Consider where each of your children will be during the event, and prepare accordingly (see below).
Plan ahead for a refreshing experience
- Prep meals ahead or plan to order for delivery for stress-free meals. (Don’t forget to include some favorite family treats for snacks or desserts!)
- Pause household chores. This is your time for refreshment, inspiration, or education.
- Create a comfortable, quiet space where you can fully engage.
- Have a notebook and writing utensils handy.
- If you have something that helps you focus (e.g. a stress ball or playdough), keep them handy.
- Dress well to interact with new people and friends at your event!
Test your tech
- Reset your wifi the day before for the best connection.
- Test livestream and video software to make sure it works in the space you’ve designated for the event.
- Make sure your space has good lighting so you can participate well.
- If an event check-in is offered before the event, make sure to attend using the same device you’ll use for the actual event as a test.
- Eliminate distractions in your view and in view of your camera.
Prepare Your Teenagers
- Request excused absences ahead of time from your student’s classes or activities if they are attending the event.
- Define a space where they can participate without interruption from other family members.
- Develop a homework plan so they are able to focus on getting the most out of the event when it’s occurring.
- Make a plan to take care of pets during the breaks.
- *See the above sections – they apply to your teen as well!
Prepare Your Young Children
- Hire a babysitter or have activities ready to engage younger children.
- If they are participating, download and print anything they will need before the event day.
- Help them practice using their computer or device.
- Have snacks and meals easy to access during breaks.
- Get a headset for your child (and you, if participating together) so that you can occupy the same space without distraction.
- Plan to call a grandparent or neighbor after the event so your child can talk about their favorite part, increasing retention.
- *See above sections – they apply to your child as well!
After holding hundreds of online events, meetings, and conferences, we know that these tips can help create a refreshing, empowering experience for the whole family. Try them out the next time you’re meeting online!
P.S. If you want a taste of an extraordinary event designed for an interactive, inspiring, and refreshing online experience, check out our Communicators for Christ conferences happening this Fall!
Dr. Teresa Moon, founding President and CEO of the Institute for Cultural Communicators, is an internationally-recognized seminar speaker, education consultant, author, and leadership coach. Each year, she travels globally equipping students, teachers, and parents to become “cultural communicators,” transforming ordinary students into extraordinary communicators and authentic leaders.