How to Tell a Story Using… Engagement Tools (Part2)

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Last time on the blog, we covered some engagement tools available to Zoom users. If you haven’t read that post yet, check that out here! This week, we’ll be examining two other popular video calling platforms: Google Meet and Microsoft Teams!

If you weren’t here last time, here’s a quick recap:

“Engagement tools” is a general phrase that encompasses a variety of techniques and items that help a speaker connect with their audience (in this case, online). Over the past few years, many have only just begun giving more speeches online. So today, we’ll be covering some virtual engagement tools that can help you keep your audience interested.

After writing that last post, I realized something interesting. In my experience, Zoom was the most popular during the pandemic, but plenty of other kids I knew used other video call platforms during the pandemic (like Google Meet or Microsoft Teams)! It just depended on their age, their demographic and what they were trying to get from the video call.

So if you read the last article and realized that some of those cool tools weren’t available for your favorite non-Zoom platform, don’t fret! There are plenty of engagement tools on other apps too, and today I hope to go over some new ones.

Google Meet
Anyone with a Google account can use Google Meet – no new account required! That’s one of the reasons why Google Meet is so popular with schools and businesses, or even just with friends who want to chat casually. (Note that people with non-Google accounts can join a Google Meet but that has some caveats!)

  1. Virtual Backgrounds/Video Effects: Yes, I know. I included this feature for Zoom as well! But Google Meet offers a very unique selection of virtual backgrounds and video effects that could be compared with the likes of Snapchat filters and wall art. Whether you’re playing a game or telling a story, these will really help you connect with young audiences!
  2. Jamboards: Google Meet has a feature where you can present a virtual whiteboard where meeting participants can brainstorm ideas or compare thoughts. Simplistic and similar in design to the Annotate feature from Zoom, you can use this tool for your speech in order to help your audience demonstrate what they’re learned.
  3. Hand Raises/Emoji Reactions: Unlike in Zoom, Google Meet notifies you when an audience member virtually raises their hand. This can be an extremely useful feature when you need to call on your audience for input. Google Meet also added a new feature where the other participants can react to something said using emojis! If you aren’t too distracted by it, you can have your audience react with those emojis for a fun twist to your speech. If needed, you can turn this off in settings before or during a call!

Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is often used in workplaces, as it is marketed towards healthcare, education, and enterprise settings and offers a few different plans suitable for these groups. Though that definitely brings the word “adults” to mind, older kids may begin to familiarize themselves with the technology as they get closer to higher education and their careers. This app is built to function with hybrid teams so that no matter where you are, you can connect with your team.

  1. Speaker Coach: This tool helps you better engage your audience rather than directly engage them for you. The tool lets you keep your pace while speaking, lets you know if you’re interrupting someone, and even reminds you to check on your audience every so often.
  2. Live Captions: When participants join from all over the world, it can be hard to get people on the same page. New accents and strange language quirks can impede the impact of your speech for your audience, and that’s where live captions come in. Microsoft Teams supports live captions in 40 spoken languages, allowing everyone to follow what you’re saying.
  3. Chat: With Microsoft Teams, live chat isn’t just limited to the meeting itself. You can set up private chats with different participants to message them before or after the meeting as well! For your speech, this can be a useful feature if you want some quick tips or immediate feedback from an audience member.

In the end, these tips can help you no matter what video conferencing application you’re using. Many of them can even translate into in-person settings as well! No matter the situation, engagement tools can help both you (as a speaker) and your audience by connecting better, staying more engaged and helping both parties walk away with a smile as they take away more than ever before 😀.

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