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Home The Lions Blog Tips for hosting a successful virtual meeting

Tips for hosting a successful virtual meeting

Lions Clubs International April 08, 2020

For more than a century, Lions have changed the world. And sometimes, the world changes us. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is creating challenges for one of our most traditional membership experiences—the club meeting. Although many clubs are unable to meet in person due to social distancing, it’s not preventing Lions from gathering safely.

Here are some tips to help you take your club meeting online.

1-2 weeks prior to the meeting:

  • Choose your virtual meeting platform. There are many free or low-cost video conferencing tools to choose from. Not sure where to begin? Check out this article for some ideas.
  • Send out two reminders. One the day before and another an hour prior to the meeting.
  • Familiarize yourself with the platform you’ll be using, including all tools and functionality, to ensure you’ll be comfortable in the virtual “driver’s seat.”
  • Send out a meeting agenda. Include links to any resources you’re planning to go over so that anyone who can’t attend can review.

30-60 minutes before the meeting:

  • Test your audio and video to make sure both are working properly. Some video conferencing platforms prompt you to do this before beginning the meeting.
  • If you plan to share your screen, clean up your desktop and close all unnecessary applications.
  • Prepare any support materials you’ll share during the meeting. Open files for slides, announcements or resources, and load any webpages so that you can easily click over and reference.
  • Log in five to 10 minutes before your scheduled meeting time to be sure everything is set and you’re ready to greet your attendees.
  • If there is a toll-free phone number available for your virtual meeting, ask someone to dial in to make sure it’s working properly. 

During the meeting:

  • Consider using a pre-meeting slide with the name of your meeting and a message that says you’ll begin shortly. This helps attendees know they’re in the right place and everything is working properly.
  • Start your meeting two minutes past the scheduled meeting time. It’s tempting to want to wait longer for more people to join, but it’s important to respect the time of those who are punctual.
  • Make sure everyone can hear you properly and consider doing a roll call or inviting each of your attendees to say a quick “hello” to ensure you can hear everyone.
  • If you’re experiencing feedback or hearing a lot of background noise, you may need to ask everyone to mute their microphones unless they are speaking.
  • If you plan to record the meeting and share with those who couldn’t attend, be sure to let everyone know that the meeting will be recorded and distributed.
  • Keep your energy level up, smile and use humor as you normally would during in-person gatherings. It may help those who aren’t used to virtual meetings feel more at ease.
  • Build in regular interactions to engage attendees. Casually invite people by name to share questions or comments without putting them on the spot.
  • When putting anything up on your screen, try not to move too quickly. It can take about five seconds for everyone's screen to adjust to a change you made on yours.
  • Most importantly, relax and be yourself. Technical glitches can and will happen, but try to maintain a sense of humor. This will help everyone feel at ease and stay open to using this meeting format.

After the webinar

  • Email the recording of the meeting and any resources you referenced during it to your club.  
  • Follow up with your club to request feedback on the meeting, including any ideas for improving the experience.
  • Share your virtual meeting tips and success with other Lions on the Lions Clubs International Facebook page.

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