Now, more than ever, it is vitally important for your group to stay connected. By leading an online group, you can keep delivering hope to your group members—all at a healthy social distance. In an online group, your group members will watch the video lessons on their own before joining a video chat for discussion together. But virtual doesn’t mean complicated.

There are multiple options available. We recommend starting with Google Hangouts or Zoom. Take a look at the breakdown below and choose one that will work best for your group.

Then check out some tips that we’ve discovered help make the online meeting  run a lot smoother.

GOOGLE HANGOUTS

ZOOM

How do I get a Google Hangouts Account?

If you have a Google account (a gmail email account) you have a Hangouts account. If you don’t have a Google account you can set one up for free here. To use Google Hangouts everybody in your group will need to have a Google account. They can set up a free account if they don’t already have one, but it would be a good idea to give everybody a head’s up a few days before your first online meeting.

How do I schedule a meeting?

There are a couple of different ways to set up a meeting and create a link to send so your members can join. This video walks you through setting up the meeting in Hangouts and getting the link for your members to join. If you set up the meeting this way you’ll need to use the same link you send to your group members rather than just opening up a new video chat in Hangouts. This video walks you through setting up the meeting in Google Calendar and inviting members to join. If you set up the meeting this way you’ll need to use the link in your Google Calendar.

How do I let my group members know?

Either email your group members the link to join your video chat along with the time and date for your group meeting or if you set up the event using Google Calendar send them an invite from those event settings. Either way, it’s a good idea to text everybody a reminder the day of your meeting.

Do I or my group members need a laptop to participate?

No. There is a Google Hangouts app available for free for iOS and Android so group members can join using their mobile device.

How do I get a Zoom Account?

To get started, go to zoom.us and sign up for a free account.

How do I schedule a meeting?

This one-minute video walks you through setting up a meeting series and creating the Zoom meeting link your members will use to join the video chat.

How do I let my group members know?

Simply email your Zoom meeting link to your group members and inform them of when the meeting is happening. If you’re members have never used Zoom there are some simple instructions you can send them to help them make sure their device is set up here.

Do I or my group members need a laptop to participate?

No. Zoom supports any desktop or mobile device with a camera or microphone. Even if your class members don’t have a camera, they can still call in to participate in discussions.

Follow These Tips for Leading Online

  • Jump online a few minutes early to make sure your audio and video are working
  • Sit close to the screen and position the screen at eye level or a little higher
  • Good lighting on front your face goes a long way
  • Avoid eating (unless everyone is eating together) or getting up during the group meeting
  • Turn off any potential distractions ahead of time so you can be fully engaged
  • When you are not talking on the video chat, hit the mute button. It’ll keep a lot of unnecessary noise off your chat.

Other Online Platforms to Consider