Shani Herrmann is a Brand Coherency Strategist, Coach, and Creator of the Deseede Method. Her personal profile tool allows people to uncover their values, the way they function, their purpose in life, and their uniqueness. “These elements,” she emphasizes, “can be directly applied to specific situations to help clients find direction, make decisions, or convince from a place of authenticity. So what I do is use these to apply it to a situation a person would like help on.”
Shani is also hugely interested in education and conducts personal development workshops for higher education institutions. She typically works with university students studying technical subjects, training them in soft skills like communication and personal development.
For this story, we caught up with Shani Herrmann to discuss how Toasty became her platform of choice. She told us why she loves using the platform, especially because of its Miro integration and engagement features.
The Search for The Perfect Tool
Before the pandemic, most of Shani’s work with her clients, whether as individual sessions or workshops, was held in-person. The pandemic made the move to the virtual world inevitable. And that’s when she started the search to “find the tools to make it (the shift) possible.”
One of the first tools that she looked for was a digital whiteboard, and her search ended with Miro. She gives Miro as a visual collaboration software full marks for their UI and user experience. But their native video conferencing ability left her wanting for more.
A consultant’s ability to work with clients remotely depends on effectual online calling and collaboration tools. Excellent video conferencing, which establishes that trust between her clients and her was non-negotiable for Shani.
“Miro definitely has a nice UI and UX, and in the beginning, I was using their native video conferencing. Pretty quickly, though, I saw that it wasn’t going to work. It was temperamental. It worked sometimes and not other times. If you needed, say, to put 20 people on the thing, it wouldn’t really work. But what was wonderful was that Miro integrates with so many different apps. And I was kind of looking around there and wondering if there was a solution, and I found Toasty. And Toasty was kind of it for video conferencing.”
But when Shani initially discovered that Toasty was built on Jitsi’s open-source platform, she was apprehensive.
With a developer husband who is a proponent of open-source projects, she was familiar with Jitsi. She loved that it didn’t require you to sign up, that it was encrypted and prioritized security. But she had faced problems with the video, audio, and connectivity, which was a huge concern. It was only when she used Toasty that she experienced the transformation Jitsi had undergone in the past few years.
“What I am all about is connecting with the best version of you. And if you don’t feel comfortable, how can you be the best version of yourself. So, I need a great easy user experience so that people can just come in and let go and be themselves. I was really pleasantly surprised to see that Jitsi has come a long way and Toasty has pushed it even further.”
The Importance of a Visual Collaboration Tool
Whether while working with individuals or groups, the Deseede method depends on conversations. It focuses on eliciting responses from participants in a structured manner.
Shani explains, “When I work with individuals, my process is typically the same. What changes is the content. I have created exercises that are very post-it friendly. I am really interested in language, so I’ve developed questions or prompts which create responses that are structured in a certain way so that we can figure out what your values are and how you work.”
It’s this post-it-based visual method of decoding a person’s uniqueness that then requires a visual collaboration tool. And for Shani, that’s where Miro comes. Once her client(s) have filled in these post-its in response to the questions or prompts, she and the client talk through the post-its. They then rearrange, and organize them on the board to develop the client’s profile.
And while working with groups (she has conducted workshops with up to 20 people), the process is even more Miro-centric. The Miro canvas serves as a space for participants to interact. It helps them follow along as Shani takes them through collaborative presentations.
This visual representation is one aspect of why Miro is such an essential tool for Shani’s work. But what’s more important is what she calls the shared experience.
“If we are just on a video call, I can see you, and you can see me, and so we are in this two-way space. But I am having my experience of you, and you are having your experience of me. When we have a third thing that we can look at together, we still have our personal experience of it, but we have the shared experience of looking at the same thing. We are both sharing that experience. And that’s why Miro is so important to create that shared experience.”
Using Miro with Toasty, A Platform Focused on Meaningful Conversations
Using Toasty with Miro has allowed Shani the advantage of smoother video conversations. She says, “We can see each other (her clients) through Toasty, and we can both see what we are doing on Miro.”
But that’s not the only thing that Toasty brings to the table. Its engagement features, the ability to break people into groups, the ability for participants to answer anonymously, the intuitive UI are all big pluses that made Toasty, for Shani Herrmann, the perfect choice.
“They (Toasty) didn’t just put work into it, they put thought into it, and that’s great. All the templates for meetings and the features show how much they care. It’s reflected in the features that they decided to create, and when I saw that, I was very impressed.”
Other platforms, she says naming a few more prominent players, don’t offer that because they are more of a technical solution.”They are trying to make sure the video is okay, and you can do different things like breakouts and adding backgrounds. But the difference with Toasty is that we can see that it’s about communicating. And the technology is about facilitating communication. The real goal is bringing people out of their shell and communicating, which for me has been very positive and is appreciated.”
The Top Toasty Features that Make the Platform a Must for Shani
1. Thoughtful Engagement Features
“I use the polls quite a bit, and I can attest to the fact that these lead to increased participation. It’s an easy way to get participation from people who don’t talk and a good way to gauge progress. For example, I can ask them to “Press YES when you are done” and so I can see when individuals are done in real-time.”
2. Breakout Rooms
“I can put them (participants) in groups because they never say anything in the big groups but always contribute quite a bit in the smaller groups. And I can create those groups the way I want. They (Toasty) did a really good job with the UI where I can kind of drag and drop.”
“So what’s great about Toasty is that they (participants) can ask anonymous questions, and they can answer anonymously. That encourages participation.”
Shani is looking to try out more of the features. She wants to experiment with Open Rooms, set topic rooms where participants can move around freely.
Toasty’s interactive features are game-changing, she tells us as we are about to end the call. But what makes Toasty an easy choice for her is that “it’s simple, it’s easy for my participants to get a grasp of, and it integrates with Miro, and so I can run these workshops online.”