You have heard of Zoom, but have you heard of Toucan – www.toucan.events? Yup, that’s right Toucan – like the bird. This new online video social meeting platform brings the natural and social interactions from real life to online events and gatherings. Toucan is a breath of fresh air and I think once you sign up for a free account you are going to love it! In fact, I predict you will be finding ways to use it by the time you get done reading this article. Smile!
Here is how Toucan describes their service from their LinkedIn profile account …
Toucan is a platform designed to host virtual social events. Whether you’re holding a casual get-together or a company happy hour, Toucan offers the space and functionality for fun and substantive social interaction. It is designed to both closely mimic and even improve upon in-person large-scale social gatherings. With Toucan, you are able to have more intimate conversations within a larger event space with whomever you would like. You are the agent of your own social experience. Instead of being forced into one large video conference, our dynamic interface allows you to move in and out of smaller groups so that you can chat with your best buddies, reconnect with old friends, and make new connections. With Toucan, the days of socializing over rigid video conferencing tools made for workplace collaboration are over. It is time for a platform that brings you the ultimate social experience.
I love everything about this program! Let me say that again – I love Toucan!
In this article, I will share …
- What is Toucan?
- How To Use Toucan.
- Some case studies on how to use Toucan
- Why you should start using Toucan right away.
Toucan Is The Closest Virtual Experience That Mimics In-Person Networking
Do you remember what attending networking events or “business after-hour parties” were like before Covid? Do you remember what it was like walking into a room full of people and then starting up a conversation with some people you knew or with someone you met for the very first time?
Here’s how networking use to work.
You would walk up to someone at a networking event, introduce yourself, exchange business cards (remember those?) and start interacting with that person and ask, “So, Jill what do you do?” During your conversation, another person would typically join in on your conversation. If the person was someone you knew and the other person you were having a discussion with did not them, then you would introduce them and resume the conversation and so forth. It would not take long before several of these “meeting spots” would be happening all around the networking room. Before you knew it you were interacting with people socially and adding value to those in the room.
Then inevitably this would happen.
From across the room, you would recognize someone you knew or perhaps see a new person you have not met and walk over to introduce yourself. During your networking event, you noticed a guy that you had been interacting with on LinkedIn. Will call him John. You and John have connected on LinkedIn. You both have exchanged a few LinkedIn messages. You’ve been trying to get ahold of John and start a deeper conversation about his business, but for some reason, that opportunity has just not happened yet. So now, you politely turn to your new connections and say something like “It was nice meeting both of you. Thank you for the conversation. I just recognized a gentleman across the room that I met on LinkedIn recently. I am going to walk over and say “Hi!” to him since he and I have never met in person. Thank you so much for the conversation. I have your business cards. I will be in touch.”
You walk over to meet John and you introduce yourself. John instantly recognized you from LinkedIn. You start a conversation with John. And before the event was over you and John agreed to meet for coffee next week. Boom! A connection was made. Does this all sound familiar? This is exactly how Toucan works, but only in a virtual environment and it feels so natural. I think you are going to like it – a lot!
Toucan allows you to move in and out of conversations freely just like in an in-person networking meeting. I wouldn’t say that Toucan is a replacement for Zoom, because the “feel” and the “vibe” are way different (in a good way!). Like anything, there will be a bit of a learning curve when you jump on Toucan, but the learning curve is not that steep. It took me about 15 minutes to get the overall feel for how the whole platform operates. Below I walk you through the essentials on getting started with Toucan.
What is Toucan?
How To Join a Conversation in a Toucan Event Space
Once you Join An Event, the first thing you will want to do is join a conversation on Toucan. Just like an in-person networking meeting, talking to a person or group of people in Toucan is really easy.
When you click “Join the event”, you’ll be transported to the event space. It will feel kinda weird at first, especially if you are used to the rectangle frame of a Zoom meeting. But hang in there, because it gets really fun real quick. Your “circle profile” will start floating around in the event space. If your friends are there, you’ll see them floating around in the event space as well! You’ll be able to tell who’s who by seeing everyone’s profile pictures. (Another perk of authentication).
If you hover over an individual (a circle) at the event or an existing group conversation, that person/group will be enlarged. You’ll be able to see the name(s) of the person/people in that conversation, and you’ll see his/her/their profile picture(s) much better. All you have to do to join someone in the conversation is click on them. And if you see that they’re already in a group, clicking “Join” is your ticket into that group.
If any of it is confusing, I’ve labeled all of the buttons in the screenshot below. Smile!
Toucan and Meeting Spots
With Toucan you can host up to 150 people in one event space and up to 16 people in what Toucan calls a “meeting spot.” Meeting spots are a really fun way to spice up your event. If you are hosting an event that requires coordination, specific labels, or designated discussion topics, then meeting spots are the way to go. Only hosts can create a meeting spot. A host can create up to 100 meeting spots in an event space.
As a host, you have the ability to create meeting spots for your event once it has begun. When you enter your event, you can click on the “Event info” button to create meeting spots. Unfortunately, at this time you cannot create your meeting spots prior to your event.
Once you click on the “Event info” button, you should see a tab that looks like this:
By selecting the meeting spots tab, you will have access to the feature.
From there, you will have the option to create new meeting spots, edit your existing spots, and delete your spots.
In order to create a new meeting spot, simply select the “Create new spot” button:
Simply name your spot and click “Create.” Done!
To edit or delete an existing meeting spot, hover over the spot’s name in the menu, and click the three dots that appear.
Doing so will give you a couple of options:
Click these buttons will prompt you to edit your meeting spot’s name or delete the spot, respectively.
How To Host An Event On Toucan
Monitoring Your Event
As a host make sure your event runs smoothly, here are some things you should know.
As a host, you want to be able to throw a great event. Here are some tips that will help you monitor the status of your event:
- If you see guests alone, check on them. It may be that they are experiencing technical difficulties, or that they simply don’t know what to do. Try sending them a wave or a private message and see if they respond. Maybe it’s the case that they just want to be left alone.
- So we looked at the data, and what we found surprised us. Large groups can be fun, but smaller groups tend to promote better conversation. More people = fewer people can talk at a time. There’s nothing wrong with a big group, but if you feel like it’s stalling conversation, then maybe try encouraging people to split up into more conversations.
- If you are running a certain exercise or planning a special event, sometimes it can be useful to use additional tools on top of Toucan. Toucan is awesome, but Toucan may not yet have all the tools you need. No worries. If you plan ahead, you can get organized with whatever additional tools you need – a Google Doc, a whiteboard, etc. – and still communicate using Toucan.
- Make sure everybody is on the same page. If you need to coordinate with people or organize different groups, the global chat and broadcast features can be great for this.
- Feel free to let people stay past the scheduled end of the event. Your space will stay open for an hour or so longer if people are still there. That being said, once the event is past its scheduled ending time, guests will not be able to rejoin the space.
- On Toucan, you are going to love the freedom of expression; however, Toucan will not tolerate any hateful speech on their platform. As a host, it is your job to make sure that your guests are compliant and courteous, and to remove any guests that are being disruptive and disrespectful. At the end of the day, everyone involved in a Toucan event wants to have the best experience possible. As a host it is your job to make sure that that happens!
How To Attend An Event On Toucan
Use Case: How To Host An Online Happy Hour On Toucan
Use Case: How To Host An Online Seminar On Toucan
Use Case: How To Host An Online Career Fair On Toucan
Why You Should Start Using Toucan Right Away
Toucan is the first online social meeting platform that I have been a part of that brings the natural and social interactions from real life to online events and gatherings. It’s easy to start comparing it to Zoom or Microsoft Teams, but don’t do that. Instead, let me encourage you to enjoy it for its simplicity and it-just-works meeting platform. As I write this article Toucan is free. However, I am confident that as they grow at some point they will flip on a pricing plan. And if they price it right, people will gladly pay for it. Make sure your device, software, settings, and permissions are correct so that you can have a smooth experience on Toucan. Check out the minimum requirements for a successful Toucan experience.
Here are some of the features inside of Toucan:
NOTE: Click the red text to learn more about each feature.
- Easy group conversations
Chat in small or large groups, up to 16 people
- Free movement
Move around the space freely, just like in real life
Wave to someone or show support by sending a heart
- Private messages
Whisper to somebody by sending private messages
Take the stage and talk to everyone in the event
Share your screen to everyone in the event
- Meeting spots
Create and name spots for group conversations
- Remove Unwanted Guests
Remove a disruptive guest or someone who is not supposed to be there
Clicking this button will mute your microphone.
This means that your microphone is currently muted. Clicking this button will unmute your microphone.
Clicking this button will turn your video camera off.
If you’re seeing this icon, your camera is off. Click this button to turn it back on.
Click this button for “Buddy View”! Sometimes you have a friend or family member join you on your calls. Buddy View adjusts the width of your camera so that more than one person can fit. Click this button again to exit Buddy View so that you’re more prominent.
Click this button to locate yourself in the event space. Toucan is designed to have multiple conversations go on at one time, so it’s only natural that you’d want to explore who’s around. You can do that to your heart’s content, but when you want to refocus on your small group, just click this button, and you’ll be back in the center of the screen.
Click this button if you need any help. The Toucan team is here to help you with any issues you may be having at an event, so we offer 24-hour chat support.
I’d love to know what you think of Toucan. Share in the comments below how you are using it.