Live More new Guides on the way! Get notified by signing up to CAST's newsletter..

Contributed by

Motivez is a youth-led organisation, founded in 2015 that empowers underserved young people aged 14 - 25 to access entry-level STEM jobs and become change makers.

Use this Guide if you would like to deliver live, interactive sessions for large groups via Zoom or another video call platform. This Guide talks about how to plan and prepare your meeting, how to make your session engaging, and how to support young people to take part.

Steps to using Zoom and Google Drive to run interactive, confidence building workshops with large groups.

Hosting a session on a video call often means doing several different tasks at once, such as:

  • Speaking about a topic

  • Introducing other speakers

  • Sharing slides

  • Responding to questions or comments

  • Reading chat messages

  • Letting latecomers into the meeting

  • Running activities

  • Opening or closing breakout rooms

  • Making notes.

Plus handling anything that is happening outside of the meeting, like answering the door!

For a small session, one or two people may be able to manage all of these tasks. But the larger the group, the more people you need to run it.

Gather a team of 2-4 people ahead of the session and share out the different tasks. Make sure everybody understands their role and is confident doing it.

This helps to make sure no one gets distracted or overwhelmed, and ensures a better experience for all your meeting participants.

Motivez is a community-driven organisation that aims to open up science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career opportunities for young people regardless of their background, whom they know, or what university they attended.

Motivez’s programmes connect 14-25-year-olds to industry experts and inspiring speakers, and deliver practical advice and support through live, online workshops. Between 100 and 500 young people typically attend each workshop.

Several people are involved in running each session:

  • Facilitator

  • Co-facilitator

  • Chat manager

  • 1 or 2 guest speakers

Everyone knows their role and what’s expected of them. This means the main facilitator isn’t trying to do too many things at once.

Guest speakers are chosen carefully, usually after an initial conversation, and given a written briefing ahead of time.

Create a plan for how you will run the session. This could include:

  • a detailed running order showing what will happen when

  • a script, or prompts, for all presenters

  • brief biographies for guest speakers

  • links to slides and other resources

  • frequently asked questions.

When you are planning the meeting, build in plenty of time for questions and discussion. Include interactive elements. For example, add polls and quizzes. Add breakout rooms for small group work.

If you will be sharing a presentation, make sure your slides support what the speaker is saying rather than distracting from it. Use images, but try not to add lots of text for people to read.

Motivez create a detailed plan, or "playbook," to guide each session's flow and to make sure that any team member can pick up and deliver a session at short notice.

The playbook includes:

  • Running order

  • Script

  • Background on the programme

  • Information about guest speakers

  • Links to specific slides, resources, and activities on Motivez shared Google Drive.

The playbook is a shared Google Doc, so the whole team can contribute to it and tag each other by using Google Drive’s @ mention feature.

Promote your session via social media and your email list. Give people lots of information about what to expect and what they will get out of it.

Encourage people to sign up in advance, even if it’s a free event. Send reminders to the people who have signed up. Try to build excitement, and invite them to share the event with their network.

Motivez do a lot of marketing to promote their programme. They’ve found that word-of-mouth referrals from past participants are one of the most powerful ways to spread the word about their work.

They have also found that Zoom is a more popular platform choice for young people than Microsoft Teams. Many of the young people they work with associate Teams with school or with work, as it was heavily used by schools, colleges, universities, and offices during and after the COVID-19 lockdowns. In contrast they see Zoom as less corporate, as it was more often used for leisure and entertainment during the lockdowns.

Young people may lack choice or control over their school or working life. Motivez want to give them something that’s theirs, that feels less like homework and more like fun.

Arrange for your team and your guest speakers to arrive at the session 15 minutes early. Use this time for a final briefing, and to check for any technical problems.

Use the waiting room feature while you meet with your team, and then let everyone into the meeting when you’re ready.

Think about sharing some ground rules and housekeeping information so that people know what to expect and what is expected from them. Let people know how they can contribute, for example use the hand raise function or type in the chat.

Use your script and running order to keep focused and stay on time, but let important conversations happen.

Let your presenters adapt the content for each session and be flexible in how they respond to questions and comments. But aim to deliver the same standard of experience for your attendees no matter who is speaking.

Motivez have grown from just a few co-founders to a whole team of people. It was very important for the founders that they didn’t hold the knowledge and expertise gained in their first years of operation. They try to empower their team and share what they have learned about delivering programmes.

The session playbook is an important tool for this. The playbook's goal is that anyone should be able to deliver any session from any programme if they have the playbook. 

Everyone who joins the organisation is trained to use Zoom so that they understand all its features and can use it confidently.

Don’t give people a lecture. Keep your meetings very interactive, for example using quizzes, polls, energizer activities, and group work.

Make a personal connection with attendees, listen and respond to their comments. Be encouraging and supportive. Try to create a welcoming environment and a feeling of community.

Motivez know that young people thrive on encouragement. Speakers and presenters look for opportunities to invite people to share their views and experiences.

It can be daunting to speak up in front of 100 people. Facilitators use breakout rooms to talk in smaller groups. Then when everyone is back in the main room together, they may invite individuals to share what they said with everyone. This helps people get used to speaking in front of a large group and builds their confidence.

Further information

Get in touch with Motivez: [email protected]

Read other Guides about using video calling software: