Virtual Meeting Resources

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.