With the world taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we’re collectively adapting to a new normal. Staying home and keeping a social distance has meant developing strategies to remain flexible in how you conduct community business.
In the following article, we're providing 7 tips for how you can host productive virtual meetings, so your board, committees, and clubs can continue to convene while being physically distanced.
1. Select a video platform
The first step in hosting a virtual meeting is selecting which conferencing platform you’d like to use. These allow you to easily set up a virtual meeting with several different people where you can all visually interact. This is helpful for presenting information and building connections with other members.
There are several free and paid video conferencing platforms available these days! Some popular ones are listed below:
- Google Meet
- Microsoft Teams
To help the meeting run smoothly, share the platform you're using ahead of time to offer participants the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the software before the meeting. You can also create a simple guide they can use to learn the basic features of joining and participating in the virtual meeting.
2. Create an agenda
Having an agenda will help keep your meeting organized and on topic. We recommend including in your agenda what business will be discussed during the meeting, who will be presenting, and when there will be time for general discussion.
Not only does this help keep all participants on track, but it also allows other participants to prepare for what they may need to contribute, and clearly defines who should be speaking at what point during the meeting.
3. Designate a moderator
We recommend assigning one member in the group the responsibility of moderating, or guiding, the meeting. As a moderator, they can help ensure the meeting stays on schedule and follows the agenda you created.
Moderators can also help maintain order during the video meeting by calling on certain participants to speak or asking everyone to raise their hands when making a decision.
4. Presentation guidelines
If your meeting requires members to give presentations, having some guidelines around those presentations can help the members when doing this virtually.
Some guidelines could include having an allotted time to present in, so the meeting stays on schedule, and making sure they know how to share their screen ahead of the meeting. This way, other attendees can easily follow along with their slides during the video presentation.
5. Encourage discussion
Having time to mingle before or after a meeting is common when physically gathering, and hosting a virtual meeting doesn't mean you need to forfeit that time! On your agenda, designate a time before or after your meeting business for attendees to ask questions and check-in with each other.
This helps to encourage social relationships and build community engagement even when you’re not able to meet in-person. Additionally, having a designated time for general discussion will make sure the meeting doesn’t run longer than needed for those who may be short on time.
6. Add to calendar
Once you've outlined the meeting structure and have your agenda ready, be sure to add the virtual meeting as an event on your website's calendar.
There, you can provide the meeting details, add a note about how to join the meeting, and attach the corresponding agenda. You can also send out an email communication to the participating members to remind them about the virtual event!
7. Post recordings
Most video conferencing platforms will allow you to keep a recording of the video meetings you host. Once you have that saved recording, you can save it to your device and upload those as private videos on a video sharing platform like YouTube or Vimeo.
This way, you can keep a record of those meetings for later reference. Posting a copy of the virtual meeting will also give other members who may not have been able to attend the video call the opportunity to go back and review the recordings.
Adapting to a new normal during this unprecedented time can be uncomfortable, but not impossible. By using the above tips, you can easily set up and host a productive virtual meeting that allows you to continue conducting community, committee, and club business online.
If you have further questions about the best way to go about this, please don't hesitate to contact our customer success team—we’re happy to support you however we can!