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: https://qiqo.pro/lucas
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.
Unconferences and Open Space events are exciting alternatives to standard conferences. They are highly interactive, simple to set up, and they are happening around the world with increasing frequency.
Unconferences and Open Space events have important differences, but the main characteristic of each is that they let participants shape the agenda by deciding which topics will be discussed in which breakout sessions. The primary role of the host/facilitator is to get the word out with an invitation and then to welcome everyone and explain the process. Here’s more info about Open Space by Michael Herman, one of the very generous thought leaders in that community of practice.
Compared to standard conferences, there are several advantages to letting participants decide which topics should be discussed:
participants feel empowered
discussion topics are more timely
the event is easier to plan
QiqoChat makes it easy to organize online unconferences, because it has a built-in tool for live audio & video events with breakout rooms. Each breakout room has collaborative notes, screensharing, and a way to embed other collaborative online apps.
Sabrina Apitz shares her lessons learned after creating an online unconference using QiqoChat +Mural + Google Docs
Although the day of the unconference is the most exciting part, you can built momentum by letting participation begin 2-3 weeks ahead of time.
For example, you can invite people for 1-2 lunch hour chats or a happy hour chats. Hold the happy hour in the same space where you will hold the unconference so that people get familiar with moving around. With Qiqo, you can show/hide different rooms at different times, so you can create some specific rooms just for the happy hour.
During the Unconference
During the unconference, everyone will join the main room when they arrive. There are 10 simultaneous breakout rooms by default, and you can have up to 100 breakout rooms. Each breakout room can have up to 300 participants each. If you need more than 300 people in your opening circle, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can increase that to 500 or 1000 for you.
Each room comes equipped with an embedded tool for collaborative notes called EtherPad. If you have more than 50 people in a room, we recommend replacing EtherPad with Google Docs.
In the main room, you can create a simple structure listing all the rooms and time slots and let everyone add their topic in the appropriate time slot. Everyone else can jump to the appropriate breakout room when the sessions begin. Example:
We recommend that one of your volunteers remains in the main room at all times to welcome any latecomers and answer any questions. If a participant makes a human connection right at the beginning, they will feel great.
As the admin of your event, you can quickly set click “Admin Options” and then “Set Topics for Breakouts”. Simply paste in the topics that are active during that hour; the topics will be applied to each breakout room to make navigation easier.
We also recommend creating some empty rooms that serve as “overflow” spaces in case any sessions run over time and they need to move to an empty space; each space is already connected to a Zoom meeting.
To create create a dynamic networking space, you can also embed SpatialChat (screenshot below) into one of your breakout rooms. Contact us at email@example.com to rent a SpatialChat room from us for $25 for your event.
You can maintain momentum after the unconference by using free “circle” on QiqoChat. A circle is a shared online space where your members can access some simple, shared, collaborative tools. For example:
peer-to-peer weekly newsletter,
articles & blog posts, and
additional live events scheduled by your participants (optional)
Create a free circle here. We provide Qiqo circles for free, so that when your participants are ready to meet again for another online event, you’re more likely to host it on Qiqo, and that’s how we make money. It’s a win-win!
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.
3. How to Find your Zoom Meeting Password on Qiqo: Click “Help” next to the green join-video button as seen in this screenshot:
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:
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:
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 extends Zoom functionality by “wrapping” Zoom video chats with additional functionality:
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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!https://blog.qiqochat.com/meet/Lucas_from_Qiqo
As QiqoChat’s founder, I’m quite interested in helping people collaborate. We sometimes forget that the foundation for collaboration is listening.
Living in Charlottesville with all the recent violence between the Alt-Right protesters and opposing counter-protesters, I thought it would be helpful to create space for people to sit down and patiently & respectfully listen to each other.
Last Friday I asked for some volunteers across a few email discussion groups and 15 wonderful volunteers and facilitators came together to make this personal project happen.
NBC29 covered it (screenshot above) but their video link is no longer active.
We are opening a space on a tool called Slack for members of the association community. If you haven’t received an invitation, please fill out this simple Google Form.
Why is this important?
Slack has the potential to be a very disruptive force for associations when they are setting up their own online communities, because Slack has a more live and friendly feel than virtually all community platforms. Similar to the trends with Facebook and LinkedIn, we believe that if associations don’t stake out their ground on Slack, then their members will, so it’s best to be ahead of the curve.
Why are you doing this?
We didn’t build Slack, but we enjoy using it very much. Because we have started integrating our community platform (Qiqo) into Slack, we are creating this space on Slack to learn–alongside each of you–to find the best fit for Slack in an association context.
How to use Slack?
Software developers leave this open all day since they do most of their remote team collaboration on it, but that may not be the best fit for associations. I think the healthy approach is to treat it like a water cooler. If you have a light day of work and you have some time to be social, it’s good to keep it open in the background (like being able to see the water cooler from your desk and dropping by when there’s something interesting happening).
In the days and weeks ahead, we will be kicking the tires. If you have any questions or suggestions, please do reach out!
When helping a client plan for an online community, we always recommend starting with the outcomes they’d like to achieve, and then we help them choose the smallest toolset which makes those outcomes possible.
Here are some questions that might be helpful during the planning process:
Are you looking to build a sustained online community or are you looking to get people together for a 1-time activity?
Is the goal to build relationships, exchange knowledge, take an action, etc?
What is the form of knowledge that is getting exchanged? Is it in the form of opinions, stories, quick facts, recommendations, or world view?
Is it necessary for people to build on each other’s knowledge or is it sufficient to collect their perspectives without any interaction/collaboration/refinement?
Are there important differences between participants that will affect their interactions?
Is the group social, professional, or somewhere in between?
Can participants get together in-person to supplement the online activities?
How tech savvy are the participants?
How much time do the participants have to participate in your initiative?
What leadership roles do you want to make available to participants?
Are moderators or ground rules are necessary?
What kind of results do you have to produce? What does success look like? What can you measure to track your progress?
Have more to add to the list? Leave a comment below!
In this post, we’ll weave together the following concepts to help you create a vibrant network of collaborators:
A ladder of engagement is a way to think about how your members can move from simple ways to engage at the beginning to more valuable ways over time.
A regular group rhythm helps members know what to expect and it keeps them engaged over time.
Critical mass is the point at which you have enough members to sustain the community over time. That number could be as low as 5 for groups where people already know each other, and it can be as high as 200 for online communities where members have not yet met.
Phase 1: Member Registration Opens
We recommend telling members that the first phase of building the community simply consists of members signing up and getting to know each other by browsing each other’s profiles. You can mention that the circle will become more active once it reaches a critical mass of 50 members, so that they know there’s nothing else to do at this point.
When inviting new members to your new QiqoChat circle, think about how you can get them started moving up the ladder of engagement by identifying some simple activities which will get them started easily:
Create a free account. (1 min)
Fill out your profile. (2-5 min)
Browse info about other members (2-5 min) such as where they are on the map, what skills they have, what needs they have, and what they have to offer.
Set your notification preferences. (1 min)
Phase 2: Critical Mass
All the tools on QiqoChat are available for your members to use as soon as you create your circle. You can turn them on/off if you like.
Once the community gets to critical mass, then we can encourage members to move beyond browsing each other’s profiles and to start moving up the ladder of engagement by trying the various tools:
Say “Hi” in the chat (or in the Slack community if you have set one up).
Ask a short question.
Browse articles and conversations.
Comment, create an article, or start a conversation.
Join a live event.
Host a live event.
Phase 3: Establishing a Regular Group Rhythm
All your members are different, and everyone is available at different times and on different days.
A regular group rhythm helps members know what to expect and it keeps them engaged over time.For example, if members know there is a certain type of recurring weekly or monthly event, they can put it on their calendar and they can join–even at the last minute–once their schedule opens up.
Here are two built-in features of each QiqoChat circle which helps establish a regular group rhythm:
Crowdsourced weekly newsletter to which everyone can add one announcement per week.
Daily digest emails which provide only the new top-level conversation starters. People can then subscribe to if they are interested in following the topic more closely.
Additionally, if you schedule a recurring weekly or monthly live event using the audio/video tools that Qiqo provides, you will balance out the written tools mentioned above with an opportunity for people to speak with each other.
QiqoChat is a tool for peer-to-peer learning in online communities. Ten of our tools are free, and the two audio/video tools are 1¢/min per person. We look forward to seeing what you create!
For the past few years, we’ve attended the Online Facilitation Unconference. This year it’s happening from October 22-24 and it is already drawing dozens of dialogue practitioners from North America, Europe, and Asia. The conference is organized by Intellitics Inc, makers of the nifty Zilino platform for online dialogue.
The best part of an online unconference is that all the participants have a hand in shaping the agenda by proposing the topics for all the breakout sessions. These “self-organizing” conferences are fun to watch as they come together in under an hour, and the conversations are highly engaging.
Early bird pricing for this unconference is still in effect for the next two days, so it is quite affordable. We at QiqoChat are excited to be a silver sponsor, and we hope to see you there!