Frequently asked questions
Using video meetings signals
Why do we need hand signals - couldn't we just use the reactions buttons or the chat?
You could of course use the reactions buttons and the chat instead, it is up to you and your team. Lots of teams have said, though, that they find using the hand signals more immediate and more 'human'. You don't need to look away to your keyboard. You don't need to try and monitor chat at the same time at faces. You also get a physical benefit from a bit of body movement. Over the course of a day this can be much more beneficial than sitting relatively still.
Do we need to have videos on the whole time - there doesn't seem to be so much point when we are screen sharing?
The hand signals are most useful when the group is having a discussion. If most of the meeting is spent in screen share they are less useful, although in some applications like Zoom you can now see 21 people at the same time as the shared screen. It can still be useful, for the presenter and other particpants, to see reactions from each other.
What about when we are in breakout rooms?
We suggest using the hand signals just as you would in the main meeting. Even with just three people it can still be tricky working out who wants to go next, so the waving and passing discipline can be very helpful.
I find some of the hand signals difficult because of a mobility or other issue
Clearly we want the use of hand signals to be fully inclusive, so there are work arounds. We have some clients who only have the use of one arm, so a one handed thumbs up works fine, it doesn't have to be two!
Is using hand signals good for inclusivity?
We think so and this is what many teams using the hand signals say. If a team uses team charing and passing, it is easier to pass the conversation to someone who has not yet spoken or who does not usually speak so often. And anyone can do this, not just the meeting chair. The agreement or protocol when you use team chairing and passing is that you only speak when the conversation is passed to you - this helps avoid those who have a tendency to dominate from always jumping in first.
Couldn't I just use Makaton/why have you invented something new?
Makaton is brilliant and serves a very important purpose. It contains many signs and symbols (over 11.000 and also varies by country). The Makaton website states: 'The Makaton resources available in the UK use signs from British Sign Language (BSL). This means they are only suitable for use within the UK.' We wanted to create a very simple and totally free to access set of signals that could be global. Most teams gain a benefit from using only 10 core video meeting signals. Many of the people we work with are initally a little uncomfortable using signs and signals in a meeting. They need persuading to get used to doing it - it is for many a new and unfamiliar behaviour that we are asking them to adopt as a new habit or way of working. We hope that by introducing a lot more people to our simple set of signals and helping them get comfortable using them, they will realise the power of using their hands as a aid to communicating and may be more open to then using other system like Makaton, BSL or ASL.