Tips for virtual group meetings


March 31st, 2020

As we move towards holding our gatherings virtually instead of in person, we will all be making adjustments and getting used to new methods. Fortunately, we’ve been doing remote meetings for a long time at RESULTS – here are some of our top tips for running a great virtual meeting. (See bottom for our software recommendations.)

Test your technology in advance.

Make sure you know how to use your chosen video conferencing software and check to see if your mic and video are working. Try setting up a mock meeting with someone else to test it out and make sure your actual meeting will run smoothly.

Send an agenda in advance with instructions on how to join the meeting.

Great meetings have an agenda to guide them. Send your agenda along ahead of time to the participants so they know what to expect, and make sure to include instructions for how they can join remotely.

Build in time to make personal connections.

When you’re meeting remotely, it can take a little more effort to develop a sense of community. Create time in the meeting for sharing. Ask participants how they are doing. Allow space for connection and build it into to the agenda.

Encourage use of video to make it more personal.

Humans rely heavily on nonverbal communication. Seeing each other’s faces can boost personal connections and make the meeting a better experience for everyone.

Remind people to keep lines muted when they’re not speaking.

You’ll have a much better meeting if each participant who isn’t talking keeps their line muted. Otherwise, unmuted lines can be loud and distracting. Ask everyone at the beginning to find their mute button and use it. With some software, such as Zoom, meeting organizers can mute open lines at their discretion.

Keep your hand on the “unmute” button.

As the meeting organizer, you want to be ready to speak and respond to questions. Be prepared by keeping your mute/unmute button handy.

Be patient as people adjust to technology.

Many people are new to video conferencing. Be aware of their needs and give clear directions. We are in this together, and we want to bring everyone along!

 

Webinar: How to Organize Remote Meetings

 

Recommended software:

Zoom (Zoom.us)

  • Free for unlimited one-on-one video/audio meetings; for 3+ people you can hold a 40-minute meeting
  • Pro account can be purchased month-to-month for unlimited meetings
  • Works great on smart phones

FreeConferenceCalling.com

  • Free
  • Just for audio calls
  • Lots of features; can be managed online

Skype (www.skype.com)

  • Free to video chat with multiple people with internet connection
  • Can add phone numbers, but people can’t dial in for free
  • Great for instant messaging
  • Users have to have the app open

Google Hangout (hangouts.google.com)

  • Free
  • Good for video meetings
  • No phone-in options for free accounts

 

Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash

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