Managing Meetings Online

Let’s take a deeper look at how to manage your Toastmaster online meetings effectively!

g2m_screenshot_step4_ENI will include the following elements in this post;

  • managing screen time – the technical aspects
  • facilitating online meetings – the management aspects

Throughout I will refer to the practicalities of doing this in GoToMeeting – another robust web conferencing tool, ideal for Toastmasters.

1. Managing Screen Time

In my experience I have noticed that there is a potential for more personal interaction with Toastmasters in an online meeting – participants are up close and personal with their web camera presence. The image of each participant is shown on everyone’s screens and often you are the focus of attention for several minutes. It is important to help participants to manage their ‘screen time’ for maximum impact.

I suggest that you have a 15-30 minute ‘setup’ time prior to start of actual meeting, in which the Logistics Manager: assists members, visitors and guests in using their Audio and Video tools efficiently. During that time have two or three people on screen to demonstrate whilst the Logistics Manager provides advice. Then invite individual visitors to practice using their voice tool first, then their web cameras, one by one.

Instruct the participants about when the tools should be used by – for instance when speaking, evaluating, timing or reporting – and provide ‘best practice’ examples at the beginning of the meeting. For example, ensure that the Toastmaster of the Day, Grammarian, Timer and Video Monitor, showcase best web camera presence at the beginning of the meeting.

When you have a speaker who is presenting with slides, you will also need to provide advice on best practice for them during the ‘setup’ time.

They will need to know:

  • how to setup their slideshow (setup slideshow – browse by individual window)
  • how to ensure they can still see their GoToMeeting Menu
  • how to navigate the slide deck (select Slide Show – use mouse clicks)
  • how to ensure that everyone can see what they see (activate Audience View)

2. Facilitating Online Meetings

Before you felt comfortable in joining a meeting online you will have benefited from practicing in your selected meeting space. Your audience will feel the same – give them opportunities to practice by sending them links to recorded videos on YouTube or provide them with links to User Documentation. My examples this week are from GoToMeeting Channel in YouTube, a treasure trove of visual tutorials.

Top-10-Free-GoToMeeting-AlternativesNow spend some time in getting to know what is ‘best practice’ in facilitating online meetings. One blog article you may find educational is from the Smart Blogger – How to Run your first Webinar. There are few, if any, specific articles about facilitating online Toastmaster meeings that I can recommend here. However I would encourage you to read widely on the topic and adapt the learning to fit the Toastmaster meetings.

GoToMeeting support pages provide very useful tips for Keeping Control of Online Meetings. There is also a downloadable and printable PDF version of these tips. They focus on the following:

  • Understand the technology
  • Know your outcome
  • Look, act and sound professional
  • Make your points clearly
  • Answer questions confidently
  • Manage difficult or hostile situations
  • Keep control
  • Make clear presentations
  • Manage technology

Top 10 Tips

My personal Top 10 Tips for effective facilitation, by the Toastmaster of the Day, in Toastmasters Online Meetings are as follows:

  1. prepare well in advance of meeting time – print agenda, note the theme, who is speaking and the order of agenda items
  2. be early and help the Logistics Manager with the ‘meet and greet’, welcoming guests and checking that all those taking a role are present in the meeting
  3. model best practice in use of audio and web camera and speak clearly
  4. be on screen throughout first half of the program
  5. handover to General Evaluator when relevant
  6. avoid speaking over anyone
  7. be smart and swift with segues between segments
  8. ask the Listener to watch the posts in the text chat and alert you to questions
  9. ask for comments and feedback from guests
  10. keep a close eye on the clock and ensure the meeting is running to time

Next week I will focus on the Social Media Presence for your online club!

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