Lessons Learned from the September Virtual Leadership Retreat

With the COVID pandemic, Boards and groups of all kinds began replacing in-person meetings with virtual Zoom meetings.  Even a fledgling, bare-bones group can use it.  All that is needed is an internet connection, audio from a computer speaker or smartphone, and a webcam integrated into your computer or a stand-alone camera. Inc Reporter, Faith Thomas, offers these suggestions.

A virtual meeting requires upfront preparation.

  • Send an email invitation with log-in information, agenda, and handouts ahead of time.
  • Sit close to your computer modem for the best reception.
  • Ask participants to log in at least 15 minutes before the meeting start to test connectivity.
  • Conduct roll call and verify everyone is working; provide a cell phone number to reach offline if having connection difficulties.
  • To minimize background noise like pets, a ringing phone, ask all participants to “mute” unless they want to speak.
  • Shiny jewelry, striped shirts, and excessive body fidgeting degrade video quality.
  • Keep the meeting focus on 1 or 2 topics in 30-minute segments; if you must cover more items, give breaks. Zoom sessions are free in 40-minute segments.

A virtual meeting requires your full attention.

  • Don’t be multitasking with web surfing, texting, emails.
  • Video conference meetings should move slightly slower than a typical meeting because it takes a 2-3 seconds delay for most systems to communicate.
  • If you lead the meeting, leave sufficient pauses after asking a question.
  • If you are a participant, signal with your hand or say “question” or “comment,” waiting a couple of seconds before continuing. Hand vote is more efficient than a voice vote.
  • Do maintain eye contact with the camera—diffuse natural room lighting results in the best picture.

Now it is time to give it a try over Thanksgiving weekend! Plan a Circle Christmas zoom party.  For Zoom instructions, see The Silver Cross Holiday issue, page 32.  Let us know how it went and share your tips from experience with communications-director@iokds.org.  Your comments about the virtual experience on this blog and Facebook will keep us moving forward.  Despite pandemic difficulties, we can stay connected to each other and our mission.

Dianne Foglesong, IN
Communications Director


1 Comment

  1. Thank you for these great planning procedures for virtual meetings Dianne, both in this blog and in the Holiday issue of The Silver Cross.

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