Workshop Resources

What to consider when choosing tools for online meetings

Always start with WHY! … and your USER - target group!

How do you want to work with the people? How interactive can they become or will it be too much? What speed is adequate?

What is their digital affinity and ability? What kinds of hardware do they typically use (eg some may have rarely experienced digital collaboration on the computer but privately use tools on their phone?)

How do they feel about digital collaboration? Helpful? Under pressure to perform? Feeling left behind by younger people or urbanites?...

Before Corona-times, many people felt threatened by it and were very resistant, so that it was necessary to first get that out in a workshop before people would be ready to learn tips and tricks! Now it might be seen as more of a help to create connection?


Accessibility for participants (usually this in the FAQ of a Software’s website)

- System needed ( PC, Mac, IOS (Ipad), Linux…, minimum required versions? )

- capacity on the computer

- bandwidth for running the programme

- can it run on a browser or does it need to be installed on the computer (problem for employee-computers)? Do you need to download a plugin (usually no problem)?

- are the instructions for installation intuitive? Does it run automaticall?

- Need to create a free account? Need to sign up for a paid license?


Data protection – especially important for corporate clients:

-       Is there any info about compliance with the data protection laws of your participants’ countries?

-       Indication: where is the company and its servers based?


Ease of use – for the participants and the facilitator!: intuitive? much new learning?


Is it synchronous (=same time, like a call) or asynchronous (= people can access it at different times)?




Is it an ‘in-app feature’ (like zoom whiteboard), presented in the app (e.g. powerpoint presentation shown in a call) or a separate software (e.g. mentimeter)?

CON: asynchronous tools require a ‘break of media’ (time and hassle for newcomers to get into it)

PRO: when you have connection problems, low bandwidth, it is better for everyone to work in a separate software window and look at it individually than to do a screen share!


Beauty of presentation: is of course aesthetically pleasing, but also provides calm and clarity and can easily be used for good-looking documentation



Can participants immediately use the software or do they need to be handed over the control? Do you need to adjust the settings in advance or even during sessions?

Can participants only post items or can they also move them around, e.g. cluster, those of other participants (more interactive, more messy;)


Videocalling: Can participants…

“ raise hand “ so that facilitators see it?

Present & see presenter & see people in gallery view? How is it arranged (flexibly?)

Comment or like other people’s comments?

Maximum amount of people in video stream vs. picture?

Max amount of participants?


Harvesting’ / documentation:

·      are the results ‘persistent’ (= it stays when you close it, so you can also go back to it in later sessions or review it for other purposes)? If not, can you save them through the app (image, pdf…?) Who can save (only host)? If all else fails: screen shot!

·      Sharing: are the results accessible via a link? Or in an in-app folder?


Community-building: Can participants establish an extended personal profile incl. picture? Can they communicate bilaterally?

A few tools...there are many more out there!

Posting, polling...:

  • Mentimeter.
  • Linoit
  • Miro
  • Slido
  • Mural

Integrated Suites: 

  • Google Suite: Docs, Hangout, Jamboard (sticky notes!)...
  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Teams – Videocall, Asynchronous collaboration etc.
  • Microsoft Whiteboard – inkl. Text, sticky notes
  • GoTo suite
  • Adobe Connect Suite
  • Wisembly



Many of the practises below involve 'taking turns'. Since the appearance of participants on screen varies - so you cannot establish a visual circle -  you can do the following:

  • write all names in alphabetical order in the chat. and then follow that order.
  • someone acts as facilitator and just chooses the next person.

Pure fun: games you can also play on a video call

 Charades - Pantomime


Choose a word or term for the others to guess. You can even choose a work-related one (Jargon is fun!)!


Play it out.


Cues (=hints) you can use are:

  • If it is a term or expression, show the number of words, eg 3 fingers. Then show 1 finger for the first word.
  • Pull your earlobe to signify “sounds like/ rhymes with”


The others guess by writing in the chat. Speaking is also allowed, but the one who writes the correct answer in the chat, gets a point.


Take turns, so everyone has a go. Who has the most points in the end, wins J




Choose a word or term for the others to guess. You can even choose a work-related one (Jargon is fun!)!


Open up the whiteboard. Share your screen. Draw your word/term!


Cues (=hints) you can use are:

  • You can write eg “3 words” and then mark with numbers which word you are drawing.
  • You can draw an ear to signify “sounds like/ rhymes with”


The others guess by writing in the chat. Speaking is also allowed, but the one who writes the correct answer in the chat, gets a point.


Take turns, so everyone has a go. Who has the most points in the end, wins J


Online Games


...need not involve guns or cars, but can be virtually any game you like played with distributed players, e.g. card games, quizmaster...


Enhance creativity in meetings

Take turns and share: how are you today? how do you feel in relation to our team? how do you feel about our work?

Draw your work / project as a vehicle:


What does it look like? How much space is in it? How fast does it go? Where does it go? Are there any obstables in the way? What is the wind like? And the landscape around you?  Who is sitting in the drivers' vehicle? Who is in the drivers' seat?


Share your drawings and explain it to others! 

Online Brainstorm


Us this space for an online brainstorn on the question: what is something crazy that could come out of the Toolcamp?


Brainstorm rules: anything goes - except critisizing ideas.


When you are finished, you can cluster cards by moving them, changing colour etc.

Getting to know each other better




Everyone thinks of two true statements and one that is not true.


One person starts and says her/his three statements.


The others guess which one is not true. If you want: record one point for each correct answer.


Take turns. Who, in the end, has most points 'wins'.


Variation: “Two truths and a wish” allows distributed team players to share aspirations, dreams wishes thereby getting to know each others’ values and what drives you. Knowing this often intrinsic motivation can support allocation of roles and responsibilities in team collaboration.





Share a picture of your shoes: photo and upload to the call. Or show them live with Video.


Take turns and tell the others something about your shoes.


Comment: You would be surprised how much you can learn about a person – which you would not in a normal business meeting! This can be particularly charming amongst remote workers because it’s something you may never know about your teammate when you only see the upper half of them. Do they wear flip-flops; cowboy boots; go barefoot? When you learn more about your teammate the relationship becomes more personal.

Feed-back & -forward!

Giving feedback is essential in any team, especially when dispersed!




Sandwich technique: wrap the critical issues in an appreciative feedback at the beginning and end.


  1. What does the fly on the wall see? Describe only the action. Don't interpret, judge or evaluate.
  2. Use I-messages: Describe the impact on YOU. If you wish to express an assumption about the effect on others, take great care to express it as such e.g. "it seems to me as if..." - "I wonder if..." - "I had the impression as if..."
  3. Needs: what is your underlying need? Rather than jumping to a suggestion for action, express what your need is. The solution may lie somewhere unexpected!


Note: follow the same structure for critical as well as appreciative feedback. Often, we are unaware of how our doings and being is appreciated!

Active Listening: paraphrase what you have heard in your own words - no comment or reaction to it - leave time for the other to confirm or correct. 

Note: this makes people feel heard and aims for a mutual understanding, since "what you think you said is often not what I think I heard!"

Exercise: Listen actively to feedback being given


A imagines a (challenging / important) situation (s)he wants to give a colleague feedback on. 

A gives the feedback according to the rules above.

B paraphrases what (s)he thinks (s)he has heard.

A confirms/corrects.


De-brief, possibly with an observer C, how that was for you.