Online club meetings
Meeting online may be right for your club if members have busy schedules, limited mobility, or live in an area without a Rotary club. Clubs that meet online often arrange to meet in person for service projects, social activities, or Rotary events, like the Rotary convention or district conferences.
Best Practices for Conducting Online Meetings
As the organizer:
- Choose the technology that's right for your needs. Some free services limit the number of participants or the length of your meeting.
- Use video but provide an audio dial-in option. The ability to see and interact with fellow participants via technology like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Google Hangouts helps keep everyone connected and engaged. However, not everyone will be able to join your meeting via video. Provide an audio option and consider recording the meeting and sharing it later.
- Stick to meeting basics. Use an agenda, set meeting ground rules, and clearly outline next steps at the end of the meeting. If background information is required, be sure to share it with all participants beforehand.
- Rethink your meeting for an online format. Some parts of an in-person meeting don't work well online. Develop your meeting content to eliminate or reformat activities that are best done face-to-face.
- Keep it engaging. Keep things interesting by minimizing presentation length and maximizing discussion. Include polls, open Q&A, best practice sharing—anything that focuses their attention on the content and each other.
- Ask for support: Building a team allows people to contribute to the success of your meeting. Ask others to monitor chat boxes, answer questions during the call, and troubleshoot technical issues.
- Be prepared. Do a dry run with any presenters to be sure they know how to request control and share their screens. Log on early to test your audio and make sure all presenters are present.
Successful online meetings also consider the needs of their participants. Encourage your participants to:
- Download and test the technology ahead of time. All participants should ensure that they have downloaded the online meeting platform and are comfortable with its features. Some good questions they should ask:
- Is my audio working? Will I be able to hear the other participants and will they be able to hear me?
- Is my camera working? Is my face visible?
- Have I eliminated background distractions to the best of my ability?
- Is my lighting appropriate?
- Optimize the audio. All participants should mute themselves when they are not speaking. For best sound quality, use a headset or headphones. This will also help minimize background noise.
- Participate! The key to a successful online meeting is engaged, active members.
(Adapted in part from "What it Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting". Bob Frisch and Cary Greene.)
Resources & reference
- Club meetings (PDF)
- Club flexibility FAQ
- Starting a Rotary Club (PDF)
- Standard Rotary Club Constitution (PDF)
- Recommended Rotary Club Bylaws (PDF)