With online mediation overnight become the only way to hold mediations, some mediators have been forced for the first time, to take a leap into new territory… Online meeting software has been developing for years, but the software has developed matured into a very powerful and intuitive platform.
Zoom leaps ahead
Most of us have probably used Skype over the years and got frustrated with the lack of reliability of the platform, despite being taken over and given an overhaul by Microsoft. Zoom has quietly been gaining ground, and during the lockdown, many of us will have been using it for a virtual coffee or family quiz night (!) to communicate where it would otherwise have been impossible.
Zoom has integrated a number of features which just simply work, and for mediation are one of the keys to creating the healthy environment. Here are 6 reasons why we think you should move to zoom.
1) Simplicity of setting up meetings
Starting a new meeting is really easy – new meeting, which instantly starts the meeting and gives the option of sharing your screen, or schedule. For mediation appointments, you’ll need to use schedule, which then allows you to add the appointment to your favourite diary system:
You’ll notice that you can use a personal meeting id, so this would be the same for all meetings, not idea if you are scheduling lots of different meetings with different clients.
2) Ease of screensharing
Clearly sharing your screen so that clients can see an MOU, parenting plan, or financial information is an important feature. Zoom allows you to chose which of the current programs and view that you currently have open, that you want to share.
3) Waiting room facility
Replicates your office waiting room, placing one of your clients in the meeting room, and unable to hear your conversations with the other party. A number of mediators have said this is a fantastic feature which they have used in nearly all mediation meetings.
During the online meeting you can then select to put one of the participants into the waiting room when needed.
4) Host controlled screen sharing
As host of the meetings, you decide which screens can be shared, which prevents your clients from being able to share information without your permission. It is worth noting that once control has been passed to a client to share their screen, then would need to release it for you to take control. To ensure that they are only displaying what you want them to display, it is safer for you to ask them to send information to you, which you will then share at the appropriate time.
Zoom also provides advanced screen sharing options if required – we like the feature for displaying only a portion of a screen.
5) Extensive audio options
Whether you only have dedicated sounds from your laptop, or headset with micophone, Zoom enables you to mix and match the output and input requirements of your system as needed.
6) Directed chat
Sometimes it may be necessary to send a specific text message to one of the clients rather than using the audio. The direct chat enables you to send a text message direct to all clients or individual as necessary
Having used a number of online meeting tools over the years, they certainly have come a long way. These 6) features make Zoom standout ahead of the pack for the purposes of mediation.
We’ve now integrated support for the three Zoom fields (meeting URL, meeting ID and password) into our case management software Progress Mediation, which are then sent out automatically via email to mediation clients, to make the process of creating online appointments more streamlined. If you want to find out more about integrating calendar reminders with Zoom meetings, please get in touch.