Virtual Meeting Resources

Fri, 04/17/2020 - 12:56pm -- jvgoodwin

In our new world of virtual interactions and meetings, iDigBio wanted to provide some suggested guidelines and resources when hosting or attending an event.

Considerations when hosting an event:
  • Try to limit interactions to 1-3 hours with ample breaks scheduled. Hold the event over multiple days if more time is needed.
    • Workshops, conferences, and other events need to be reimagined for a virtual format. Content and structure should be streamlined.
  • Keep it interactive and try to mix media to increase engagement.
    • News broadcasts have perfected this by switching between news clips, broadcasts, stats, etc.
    • Reduce split visual attention (like having a chat conversation going at the same time you are sharing important content on slides).
    • Incorporate Polls, Q&A, Video clips, etc.
  • Preparation and structure are key
    • Provide a detailed agenda, and possibly other online discussion forums/documents, well ahead of the meeting so participants can prepare efficiently.
    • Assign roles ahead of your meeting: host, facilitators (to keep note of questions, raised hands etc.), note takers, someone to answer questions in the chat, etc.
    • Prepare, practice, repeat: Schedule a test meeting with the main speakers ahead of your live meeting to test sound, screen-sharing, lighting, transitions, etc.
  • Consider adding intro slides to provide key information and ground rules as participants enter the session. See below for example points to include.
  • Engagement from the beginning is key. Otherwise people may be passive and not contribute to content.
    • Example: have people contribute to a shared document from the beginning, consider using an icebreaker exercise
  • Make a plan for how your event will be recorded and shared for later viewing.
  • Use live captioning to ensure accessibility of your content. See below for more information.
Recommendations for speakers and attendees:
  • Keep your computer on a solid surface to avoid camera movement.
  • Use a headset to prevent background noise and feedback.
  • Dress and act professionally as though it was an in person meeting. Lounging on the couch during your presentation or wearing pajamas may not give the best impression.
  • Try to face a window or light so your face is well lit.
  • Mute your mic when you are not speaking.
  • Verbally describe important images or figures.
  • Avoid overuse of pronouns such as this/that/here, use descriptive language instead.
  • Take your time speaking, don’t rush through your slides. 
Examples of possible ground rules could include:
  • You can edit your name and affiliation and add pronouns to your Zoom name.
  • Mics will be muted at first, but we can enable them during discussion.
  • Private chat and file share are also disabled for participants.
  • Please return to mute after you speak.
  • Feel free to participate in whatever works best for you (verbally or through chat).
  • We will try to pause in our discussion section to let people who may not always jump right in contribute, so don’t be alarmed if there is “dead air”.
  • Expect the unexpected (video/audio lag, freezing) but let us know in the chat if you are experiencing any issues.
  • If we lose a speaker because of connection issues, they will return!
  • This session is being recorded.
  • Waiting room is enabled.
  • Links for shared notes document
  • Organization’s Code of Conduct. iDigBio’s CoC can be found here:
  • We suggest the desktop client or mobile app, which use less bandwidth than Zoom in your browser. See Zoom help for more:
This is a living document. Edits and additions are welcomed and encouraged.