Online Unconferences with QiqoChat!

Online Unconferences with QiqoChat!

At Qiqo, we love supporting event organizers who are designing events that empower their participants. Unconferences are a fantastic format for doing that, and that’s why QiqoChat the first events we started hosting in 2015 were unconferences. In 2020 we expanded so that you could host traditional online and hybrid conferences too.

Over the years, we’ve found that these are some of the key aspects of an online unconference:

  • customizing the look and feel to match your community
  • giving participants the ability to set the discussion topics
  • making it easy to take notes

Qiqo provides you with many great options to meet each of those needs.

Want to chat with us about unconferences? You are invited to drop into our open office hours any week, or book a 1-1 meeting here.

You can customize your unconferences on Qiqo (background, button colors, etc). As an example, you can see a screenshot of an upcoming (January 2023). One interesting aspect is that this unconference is actually being held within a larger conference called the New Rules for Work Symposium. The organizers wanted 2-3 discussion sessions at specific times each day.

The screenshot below shows the main space where people arrive. At the top left, participants can click the join-video button to launch Zoom for that room. On the right side of the page, participants can select a time slot and propose a new discussion topic.

That’s a custom tool we built for unconferences, and you can also use any other format that works for you such as a embedding Google Doc or Google Spreadsheet which lists all the rooms and session times.

In the screenshot below, you can see one of the breakout rooms. When you arrive in a breakout room, the join-video button for that room is at the top-left and you see a space for everyone to take notes on the right.

Click the tabs across the top to see different notes pages and embedded tools.

The list of breakout rooms down the left side provides the “where” for your event. Participants can move themselves, just like in an in-person unconference.

The list of tabs across the top of each breakout room provides the “what” for what tools are available in each room. Select a tab across the top, and then the tool that is visible in the center of the page will change. In this way, participants can choose where they want to go and what tool they want to use when they get there. Tools for notes, post-its, searching the program/schedule, and viewing a list of recordings are some of the most common options.

Remember, the “why” is the most important part of the planning process. Ensure that your invitation communicates a clear purpose, and then the people who resonate with your invitation will show up.

We are always happy to chat with you about unconferences and other innovative event formats. Drop into our open office hours any week, or book a 1-1 meeting here. We look forward to connecting!

Create a Splash Page for Your Zoom Meeting with Qiqo Pro (with early bird discount!)

Create a Splash Page for Your Zoom Meeting with Qiqo Pro (with early bird discount!)

Sometimes you just want to add a little sizzle to your Zoom meetings.

Qiqo Pro is our newest product, and we built so that you can create a beautiful splash page with a permanent, custom link for each of your Zoom meetings. This works with the Zoom Pro account that you are already buying from Zoom.  Here is my example meeting space:

Each meeting space that you create on Qiqo Pro also makes it easy for you to embed the documents and collaborative tools that you plan on sharing during your meeting. This avoids the pain of re-sharing links in Zoom chat when people show up late, and it’s easy for participants to find the notes and recordings from past meetings right from their calendar invitation.

Here is the 50% early bird discount (available through December 31st) which will save you $132 each year!

To get started, click the earlybird discount link above, and then browse the 2-minute tutorial videos to see how easy it is to set up your space!

Here is the link to our open office hours each week for free, live support.

Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome!

450 Participants in a QiqoChat

450 Participants in a QiqoChat

We were thrilled to support the Festival Der Taten in Germany, hosted by the creative agency 17Ziele with support from the German government.  450 participants collaborated in breakout rooms to address challenges in sustainable international development.

Here is the impressive video 17Ziele made to summarize what happened.  You don’t have to speak German to see that they had a lot of fun!

Passwords for Your Zoom meetings on QiqoChat

Passwords for Your Zoom meetings on QiqoChat

By default, whenever you create a new event on QiqoChat, your Zoom meeting links will now have something like this attached to it: “?pwd=xxxxxxxxxxx”

That is an encoded password (it is not the password), and it prevents people from entering your Zoom meeting by just guessing the link to your Zoom meeting on QiqoChat.

No Change for Participants Who Join from a Computer

There is no change for any of your participants who click the green button to open the Zoom meeting; they will not need to enter the password because the link includes the encoded password.

Phone and Tablet Users will Type the Password

If your meeting participants do not click the green join-video button and if they want to enter the meeting by opening Zoom and then entering the meeting code manually, they will also have to enter the password.  They can find this password and the Zoom meeting ID if they click “Help” next to the green join video button.  The password is easy to remember it is a 4-digit number that looks something like this: 7777.  All of your breakout spaces will have the same zoom password.

If you want to test any of your Qiqo-Zoom Meetings (Optional)

1. You can go to an event that you already created on Qiqo (whether it’s in the past or in the future) and you can click the green button to open Zoom.  It will still work.  You can do this for a room that has already been used or a room that no one entered.  For rooms that no one has entered yet, we create the Zoom meeting at that very moment, so different code is used.

2. You can create a new event on Qiqo – in one of your existing circles or not in a circle – and click on the green button to open Zoom.  That will still work.

3. How to Find your Zoom Meeting Password on Qiqo: Click “Help” next to the green join-video button as seen in this screenshot:

Find Your Zoom Password on Qiqo

4. How to Find your Zoom Meeting Password on Zoom: You can see the To see the “join link” and the password for your Zoom meeting when you have it open, click the button with the letter “i” at the top left of your Zoom meeting as seen in this screenshot:

Find your Zoom Password on Zoom

5. How to Edit your Zoom Meeting Password on Qiqo: When you are creating (or editing) an event on Qiqo and you click “More Options” you will see the Zoom meeting password that we create for your event by default.  You can edit the password and it will change the password for the Zoom meetings in all your breakout spaces.  If someone is in the breakout space, it will not disconnect them, but the new password will be used for anyone who has not yet joined the meeting.

This screenshot is from the page where create/edit your event:

Edit Zoom Password on QiqoChat


Comparison to Video Tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom

Comparison to Video Tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom

Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom are similar; each tool provides video chat, written chat, and screensharing for groups of two or more people.

We chose to use Zoom as the video provider for QiqoChat.  That means every time you open a video chat on Qiqo, you are using Zoom.

Qiqo Event Screenshot
Example of a QiqoChat event with 31 participants across four breakout rooms. The host added the custom blue background and the Google Doc being used for notes on the right side of the page.  There’s a lot going on!

Qiqo extends Zoom functionality by “wrapping” Zoom video chats with additional functionality:

  1. Breakout Rooms: After you sign in and click “Participate” in a Qiqo live event (example) you arrive at the main table.  You will see 10 breakout rooms on the left (see the screenshot below).  When a participant clicks on a table name, they will open up the page for that breakout room.  When they click the “Join Video” button, the Zoom video chat for that breakout room will open.
  2. Participant Profiles: When a user enters a breakout room, their profile photo is visible.  Each participant can see who is in which room and make a decision about which conversation they want to join.  With their profile, each participant can share some basic info about themselves, making it easy for them to connect 1-1 and build relationships.
  3. Collaborative Notes: Each breakout room has a notes page on the right hand side (see the screenshot below).  As the creator of the event, you can replace this notes page with a Google Doc or any other collaborative tool so that people can interact with it while they use Zoom video chat.
  4. Group Calendar: Anyone in your circle (or just the admin) can schedule a Zoom video chat which shows up on the group calendar.  This calendar provides continuity between events and is connected to a weekly newsletter which announces upcoming events every Monday morning, saving you time and making it more likely that people who attended previous events attend the next one (or even schedule their own!).
  5. Additional Tools: All your participants become members of your “circle” on Qiqo.  The group calendar is just one of the collaborative tools in your circle.  Here is a list of all tools on Qiqo.
  6. Per-Minute Pricing: We are big fans of Zoom, and we think their $15/month pro account is very reasonably priced.  If you want the functionality of Zoom, but do not use it enough to justify the $15/month subscription, then there is a pay-per-minute option to use Zoom on Qiqo.  Any Qiqo user can set this up at this link, whether or not they have created a circle.  The price is just 1¢/min per participant.  You will receive a customized link which you can use to invite participants to your meeting space.  Here’s mine!
Paying Qiqo and Getting Paid by Qiqo

Paying Qiqo and Getting Paid by Qiqo

Sign up as an affiliate member, and get paid for helping to spread the word about Qiqo.

For any Qiqo circles you administer, you can choose whether your circle is free for participants or not.  Here are your options:

Option 1: You pay for your members (1 cent/min per participant for the live events and other tools are free), or
Option 2: You can set a quarter membership fee for your circle. If you set the price to anything greater than $15/quarter then we send you the rest.  Signing up as an affiliate is a prerequisite.

Whether you choose option #1 or #2 above, you can charge a fee for any event you host on Qiqo.  We subtract the cost of the event (1 cent/min per participant) and we send you the balance when it reaches $100.  Signing up as an affiliate is a prerequisite.


This page is part of the Qiqo User Guide.

Live Events on Qiqo

Live Events on Qiqo

Our goal is to make it easy enough for people to join a live event on Qiqo without having to read any special instructions.

Sometimes people want instructions and sometimes instructions just make a task more complicated.  If your members need instructions, here are some simple ones below.  Remember to replace “[insert your event link here]” below with the link to your event.  It will look something like this:

Before the Meeting
Step 0: Download Zoom here.  You will automatically be prompted to enter a meeting ID.  There is no need to enter a meeting ID, because Qiqo will connect you directly (see below).  Close Zoom.

Instructions to Join the Meeting/Event:
1: Go to [insert your event link here]
2. Sign in and then click “Participate”.
3. Click “Join Video” to connect by phone or computer microphone.

That’s all! Participants will arrive at the main table.

Later, if participants want to go to a breakout table,
1. Click “Breakout Tables” on the left to see them all.
2. Click on one breakout table to see its page.
3. Click “Join Video” to be disconnected from the main table and join the audio/video for that breakout.

Repeat steps 1-3 to go back to the main table.


How to Run a Great Live Event on QiqoChat

How to Run a Great Live Event on QiqoChat

Sound Quality Tips:

  • Make sure you are calling in from a quiet location so that you do not distract participants with background noise.
  • If you have a weak Internet connection and want to share your video, then dial in by phone so that your audio will not be interrupted if there is some lag in your video.
  • Ask others to make sure that you’re not speaking too far or too close to your microphone.

Screensharing: If you want to share your screen, you must use the Firefox Internet browser (screensharing with Chrome is coming soon). You will have to download this Firefox Screensharing Plugin, and then drag it onto Firefox to install it.  Screensharing takes additional bandwidth, so you might need to dial in by phone instead of using your computer microphone if you intend to share your screen.

Example script for organizers to familiarize participants with QiqoChat when the event begins:

  • “We have many people on the call today.  Please mute your phone when you are note speaking, or if you are using your computer microphone, there is a mute button on the screen.”
  • “If you would like to speak, press the red “Raise Hand” button on the left side of the page.  Go ahead and try it now.  [Wait a few seconds as people try it.]  You will be able to put your hand down by clicking the red X next to your name.  If you are on the phone but not at your computer, speak up anytime and I’ll call on you in order.”
  • You can see the notes for the main table on the right side of this page.  Go ahead and write something so that you can see how it’s done. [Wait a few seconds as people try the notes.]
  • “I’ll explain how to jump to a breakout table when it’s time.”

Example script to read participants when it’s time to head to breakout tables:

  • “Please listen to all the instructions first; they only take a few seconds.”
  • “Everyone will simply click on the table number on the left side of the screen.  If you are using your computer microphone, you browser will prompt you to turn on your microphone again.  If you are dialing in by phone, you must also press the star key.  Then you will hear the instructions to enter the table number followed by the pound sign.”
  • “I’ll read these instructions again.  If you are not sure what to do, just stand by in the main table, and I’ll point you to where you need to go after everyone else gets on their way.” [Then read instructions above again.]

You can use the collaborative notes area to have people suggest topics for the breakout tables.  It’s best to have a small number of people at each breakout table (3-5) so that everyone gets a chance to speak.  If you have more than 5 people who want to discuss a topic, consider having multiple tables with the same topic.  To label the breakout tables, click “Admin Controls” and then “Label the Breakout Tables”.

Before having people head off into breakout tables, have all participants indicate which breakout table they want to join first.  You can accomplish this by listing all table topics in the collaborative notes, and having everyone add their name near that table in the notes.  This makes the breakout process much, much simpler.  If some people are not using the web interface (just dialing in by phone), you can assign them to a breakout table by writing their name in the notes and letting them know which table you have assigned them to.

When people use their phone to jump to a new breakout table, they sometimes forget to update their screen so that they can see the breakout table notes.  If that is the case, then they will still be looking at the Main Table’s collaborative notes.  After everyone has gone to breakout tables, you can post the following message note on the Main Table Collaborative Notes:

[Put a few blank lines above.]

“You are currently looking at the notes for the main table.  You probably want to see the notes for your breakout, so click your table on the left to update your screen.”

[Put a few blank lines below to make it stand out.]

Then remove those instructions when everyone has updated their screen.

Relationships Build Community

Relationships Build Community

It sounds simple, and it is: to build a strong community, your members must be able to build strong relationships.

This means that they need a variety of fun and productive ways to connect with each other.  Over time, these connections and interactions will add up to strong relationships.

I experienced this lesson firsthand this week, and here’s how it happened.  For the past 7 years, I have been a member of an online community of dialogue facilitators.  This community has gathered around an email discussion list for the past twenty years so it has quite a bit of history.

The email discussion list is quite active.  When I shared this blog post about a fun dialogue experiment that I held this week, it resonated with a handful of the members very, very strongly.  Two of the community members even said that they would replicate the experiment in different parts of the country.  Other members of the community were supportive, but there was a noticeable difference between these two types of reactions.

When I took a step back and noticed who had responded so enthusiastically, I realized it was the same group of people that I meet with on a weekly basis for a live Skype video chat.  Although the video chat is open to everyone, there are about ten regulars.  Over time, we’ve gotten to know each other very well.

It is no coincidence that the relationships I’ve built during these video chats made it possible for my blog post to resonate with these folks.  For members of that community with whom I’ve never met during one of those video chats, my blog post was just words.  For people whom I’ve met through the video chats, they could connect with more of the emotion I shared in the blog post (curiosity and apprehension) and it had a bigger impact on them.

How this relates to QiqoChat

This is why we’ve made realtime audio and video events the centerpiece of QiqoChat.  We believe that when people can connect live online, they can build relationships in a much deeper way than they can by simply replying to each other’s emails or comments in a forum.

We look forward to seeing all the ways our clients create space for their members to connect in meaningful ways, and we look forward to sharing many of those insights here on this blog.