Technical issues, glitches and crashes are some of the most painful aspects of facilitating online. Not only do they break your flow and suck the energy and engagement out of a group, they can be especially frustrating because they feel so far beyond our control.
Murphy's Law may be one of the most dreaded adversaries when facilitating online, but by setting the right strategies in place you can minimize the disruption of unforeseen technical issues. In this article, I'll discuss three effective strategies for dealing with computer crashes during your online workshop that minimize disruption to your participants.
Three Strategies For Dealing With Computer Crashes During Online Workshops
1. Have a producer or co-facilitator
Having someone available to jump in and temporarily take over the session when your computer crashes is the best way to minimize the disruption to your workshop. This is most seamless when your co-facilitator has been involved in leading the activities of your workshop, and your participants would naturally look to them if you suddenly disappeared. Even if your co-facilitator only signed on to handle production work like admitting participants and creating breakout sessions, it can still make all the difference to have someone available to keep your participants informed of what's happening and keep them engaged until you are able to rejoin.
To make it even easier and more seamless for your co-facilitator or producer to take control when your computer crashes, consider using a meeting platform that gives co-facilitators and producers the exact same level of control as you. Using Seshboard, both you and your co-facilitators or producers have the same permissions to upload presentation materials, create and save breakout group assignments, and launch useful meeting tools like Miro directly within the Seshboard workshop.
2. Use a meeting platform that lets you upload your presentation files and present them from the cloud
Many workshop facilitators present materials like slides, graphics, or other files using the share screen feature of their meeting platform. This may work well most of the time - but if you run into an issue that forces you to restart your computer, you'll end up losing even more time as you open up all the files you need to screen-share. Your co-facilitator or producer might also have a tough time covering for you effectively if they need to open those files locally on their computer before presenting them. Worse still, unless you sent them through in advance or keep them on a shared drive, they might not even have access to the files you were presenting at all!
A convenient solution to this issue is to use a meeting platform like Seshboard that lets you upload your materials and present them directly within the platform from the cloud. This way, you can easily jump right back into presenting your materials if you get temporarily disconnected, or even let your co-facilitator continue running through your materials while you're waiting for your computer to restart.
3. Sign in to your workshop with two computers
This strategy works best when you're using a platform that lets you assign the same control and permissions as you have to co-facilitators, so that you can easily run your workshop as a facilitator from either computer. It also works best when your meeting platform lets you upload your presentation files and present them directly from the meeting platform in the cloud, like Seshboard does, so you don't need to worry about opening files on each computer locally and screen-sharing from there.
As the old adage goes, it's possible to plan for the worst while hoping for the best. By following the three strategies outlined in this article, you can ensure you're taking all the proactive steps you can to avoid having an ill-timed computer crash derail your virtual workshop.
This article is part of our new series on technical advice for online facilitation. For more tips on how to run your online workshop facilitation setup like a pro, check out our Technical Guide for Online Facilitation.
Interested in learning more about how to maximize your participants' engagement during online workshops? Check out the other articles in our Guide to Online Engagement.
Seshboard is an all-in-online online workshop platform that makes virtual workshops as engaging and productive as in-person ones. Book a demo with us today to learn everything you need to know to run game-changing online workshops on Seshboard!