Whether your tech savy or a technosaur, learn how to get access to a free web conferencing account and best practices to have fun online meetings.
- Select an online conferencing system.
- If you are a corporate club you probably already have a video conferencing system like Webex, Zoom or Skype available. If available, we suggest using that.
- If you are a community club, see if anyone in your group has access to a video conferencing system. If so, use that.
- If you do not have access, you may use the District 57 Zoom free of charge.
- Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to get a meeting set up for your club.
- Send the name of the club, the day you meet, for how long, and frequency of meetings.
- We will send you back a Zoom link to share with your club within 48 hours.
- Zoom has a tremendous amount of getting started videos and tutorials for all your club members here.
- Communicate! Make sure all your club members know the connection information. Update your PR messages that provide club information to potential guests. These may be on your website, Meetup, Facebook page and other social media presence.
- Organize your meeting as usual. Ensure all roles are filled ahead of schedule. Send out the agenda via email before the meeting so that the members can see it.
- Meeting Best practices during the meeting:
- Ensure that attendees keep their systems on mute unless they are speaking. If the host mutes everyone, make sure you allow participants to unmute themselves.
- Leave your videos on so you can see reactions from your audience.
- Remember to follow the Toastmasters etiquette of having exactly one person speaking at any time. This automatically cuts down all distracting chatter. Muting of the non-speakers’ lines is really required to cut down all extraneous sounds.
- For your first few meetings select a Toastmaster who has used the video conferencing software before and can help things go smoothly.
- Show colored timer cards on your camera so that the flag can be seen at any time after the minimum time passes. Keep the green card up until you show the yellow card. Keep the yellow card up until you show the red card. Keep the red card up until the speaker finishes.
- Clubs may decide that the timer sounds a cue during all transitions. This can be a differentiated chime of some sort, or simply the timer saying ‘Green’, ‘Yellow’, and ‘Red’ clearly and audibly at these points, even if it’s while the speaker is speaking.
- Other options for timing would be
- Showing the Toastmasters International Timer App in your camera (found at https://www.toastmasters.org/Membership/Club-Meeting-Roles/Mobile-App)
- Using a virtual background for the Green, Yellow and Red timing signal, as seen below. Click on each image to download the full size virtual background. Instructions to use these with Zoom are available at https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/210707503-Virtual-Background. Please test this BEFORE a live club meeting or contest.
- Ballot Counting if you vote for best speaker, evaluator or table topics in your online meetings:
- If you are just getting started with online meetings, we suggest you skip
- District 57 Zoom Hosts do not have access to the Polling feature. Clubs who pay for their own Zoom or web conferencing may have the ability to run polls.
- Alternatives to count ballots include:
- Sending private chat messages to the Timer or functionary who typically counts ballots.
- Using a Google Form or other survey tool to count ballots during your meeting
- Invite more people. You can now invite back people who have moved away or taken jobs that prevented them from attending. Now that we are all sheltered in place we can enjoy meeting with our old friends again. You can even run a virtual Open House and invite people on Facebook and Nextdoor. This is a great way to keep socializing while being “socially Distant”. Many of our clubs have invited guests who have attended, participated and joined!
- A complete guide to camera angles is available here. Carefully choosing your camera angle lets you influence your audience’s reaction to and interpretation of what is presented on their screen.
Program Quality Director