Selecting a virtual meeting platform:
First you will need to select the platform or software that will be utilized. When making your selection it is important to consider the tasks or business that will be conducted—this determines the features the platform must have. You may want to distinguish between required features and nice-to-have features. Some items to consider are:
Number of attendees
Audio and/or video capabilities for the meeting host and attendees
Ease of use
Reliability and Security
Ability for attendees to participate in the discussion
Once you have established the necessary features, the next step is to evaluate the available platforms. To do so, consider seeking help from someone on your club who has experience in this area. The following platforms are mature, secure, and supported by major IT companies. Most of these platforms offer a free trial.
Adobe Acrobat Connect
We do not recommend using ZOOM. It has been found to have serious security issues!
Create a team:
To conduct a virtual meeting successfully, you will need help. Do not plan to manage the meeting platform and host the meeting by yourself. Select or appoint one or two members who are experienced with technology to support you in managing the platform. This will allow you to focus on running the meeting and facilitating discussions.
Prepping the attendees:
Before the meeting send out a half page report on key agenda items to be covered in the meeting.
It is also important to provide guidelines for everyone. Some examples are:
Attendees should mute their microphone/phone when not speaking
Attendees should wait until they are acknowledged before speaking
Attendees should limit their speaking time –tell attendees how much time they have
The host reserves the right to mute attendees as needed
Encourage participants to submit questions on the topic(s) to be discussed beforehand.
Start off the meeting by asking everyone to introduce themselves and tell everyone what they are working on in the hobby. Select a platform that allows attendees to silently signal their desire to speak so not everyone is speaking at once. Additionally, consider selecting a platform with the ability to mute attendees to help maintain order during discussions. Most platforms will have a feature allowing the host to chat with attendees privately or publicly. Ask members to submit their questions or type in their name to signal that they would like to address the entire group. As members enter their question or name, the chat feature captures the requests in the order received. The member or members who are managing the platform can notify you, the meeting host, of the speaking order of attendees.
Keep people engaged by having a poll or asking a question and having people respond via chat.
Do not ask open ended questions to the group. Ask specific questions to specific participants.
Invite the attendees to go to the club's forum or social media group after the meeting for further discussions about the topics discussed.