Chat, Reactions & Breakout Rooms for 12 Step Meetings on Zoom

We respect every group’s autonomy, as per tradition four: ‘Every group should remain autonomous, except in matters affecting other groups or CoDA as a whole.’ Some meetings find the chat, ‘Reactions’ and ‘Breakout Rooms’ features on Zoom helpful; others do not. We recommend your meeting discusses whether they would like to use them or not at group conscience. To enable or disable these features:

1. Go to www.zoom.us

2. On the top right corner of the page, click ‘Sign in’

3. Type in your email address and password for the account, and click ‘Sign in’

4. On the left of the page, under the heading ‘personal’, click on the 5th subheading: ‘Settings’

5. The word ‘Meetings’ will appear in bright blue up at the top of the page.

Scroll down the page to find the ‘In Meeting (Basic)’ heading, and the ‘Chat’ heading. This allows meeting participants to send a text message visible to all participants. To enable, click so it’s blue; to disable, click so it’s grey.

Participants can save the text that was written in the chat during a meeting. To prevent participants from saving chat, tick the box beside ‘Prevent participants from saving chat’.

There is also an option on Zoom to ‘Private chat’ – which allows meeting participants to send a private 1:1 message to another participant. To enable, click so it’s blue; to disable, click so it’s grey.

Also under the ‘In Meeting (Basic)’ heading, a little further down the page, is ‘Nonverbal feedback’. This means participants in a meeting can provide nonverbal feedback and express opinions by clicking on icons in the Participants panel. To enable, click so it’s blue; to disable, click so it’s grey.

Beneath this is ‘Meeting reactions’, which allows meeting participants to communicate without interrupting by reacting with an emoji that shows on their video. Reactions disappear after 10 seconds. Participants can change their reaction skin tone in Settings. To enable, click so it’s blue; to disable, click so it’s grey.

Scroll further down the page to find the ‘In Meeting (Advanced)’ heading, and ‘Breakout room’. This allows the host to split meeting participants into separate, smaller rooms which may be helpful for workshops or large meetings.

Here are the full details of the Zoom settings we’ve decided on at CoDA Ireland intergroup to maximise security, anonymity & accessibility as per guidance from other 12-step programmes, and our own experience with online meetings to date.