Now, more than ever, to maintain a sense of connection even while being physically isolated, associations need to take advantage of technology to engage with co-workers and members.
Like most associations, you are likely evaluating upcoming meetings and events to identify those that can be facilitated virtually so you can continue to provide valuable information and member benefits.
If you’re new to hosting virtual meetings, chats, or events, here are five quick tips:
1. Select a virtual conference tool that will work for your needs. Consider the cost, features (e.g., video, recording, screen sharing, and chat options), ease of use, and fit for your meeting types (e.g., number of participants, length of sessions, formal/informal presentations).
2. Use video. Right now, as we are more isolated, we are craving human interaction. Video conferencing encourages increased engagement and makes the meeting feel more collaborative.
3. Optimize your audio. Consider using a headset to limit background noise. Ask everyone to mute unless speaking to reduce the sound of the garbage truck or Fido. For large meetings or events, the organizer should mute all participants beyond speakers. Use the hand raise or chat features to handle questions.
4. Take advantage of the medium. Use features such as screen share to view information together or present. If the session is collaborative, consider capturing notes in real-time on-screen. For large meetings or events, use the record feature so that you can send the recording out to those who couldn’t attend or may want to share with others.
5. Practice. Like anything new, using virtual conferencing will feel uncomfortable at first – so practice. Get over the fear of seeing yourself on screen. Learn to slow down slightly, as video can have a 2-3 second delay. Get comfortable with the tools. And remember we are all in this together. Cut yourself a little slack. Don’t worry if the cat jumps up to join the meeting. Unusual times call for creativity, grace, and a few laughs.