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Tips for Cultivating Connection Online

photo by Olivia Reed Photo

We need community now more than ever. While we are all doing our best to hunker down at home, we can also practice intentional online connection to support each other. We’re even doing that here at Rising Tide. For the first time ever, we’re taking our local chapter meetings online! Here are some tips that we’ve compiled with the help of Lauren Nygard, who leads our Military Chapter, and Kit Gray, who leads our Creative and Chronically Ill Chapter. 

  • Do you have a Facebook group for your business? Use it to help fellow creatives feel connected and supported. 
    • Come up with discussion questions to create text-based discussion 
    • Try using the social learnings tab to create a space to engage outside the main feed and keep topics of interest organized
    • Schedule social video chats

Video Chat Hosting Services

We recommend using a video platform that allows for LIVE CLOSED CAPTIONING (CC) so participants can use it if they need to! Try one of the following free services for video chats:

  • Zoom (free account)
    • Has live closed captioning (CC) capabilities that you must turn on in your account settings. It is automatically toggled off.
    • Free for a 40 minute limit
    • Up to 100 attendees 
  • Google Hangouts 
  • Skype 
    • Easy access of live closed captioning (CC) for attendees
    • Free for limit 10 attendees

Tips for Success: 

  • RSVPs for online events are typically less concrete than for in-person ones
    • Try to be patient and understanding that you will have no-shows if you host a video chat
  • Online calls tend to be shorter than in-person meetings
    • Expect to max out at 40-60 minutes
  • Like in-person meetings, a personal follow-up before the video chat should help decrease no-shows and let attendees know you are excited to connect
  • Remind your attendees of the 2 golden rules of online meetings
    • Bring headphones to reduce echo feedback on computer mics
    • Mute yourself when someone else is talking
  • As the video chat facilitator, log in early so you are the first face seen to welcome people in as they join
  • Plan ahead with a brief agenda
    • Write down questions around a specific topic to keep the conversation flowing
  • Turn a social chat into a virtual co-working session
    • Come prepared with what you’re currently working on, want feedback on, or what to ideate on!

It doesn’t have to be perfect! Setting aside time to connect with our community virtually might help us feel less anxious and find new ways we can support each other.

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