Too often, teachers assume that students know how to behave in a virtual meeting. In reality, though, virtual meetings are complex. It is important to intentionally address expectations for virtual meetings. There are three parts of the virtual meeting for which you should set norms: before, during, and after the meeting. Here are some helpful norms and tips for incorporating those norms for each part of the meeting.
Prior to the Meeting
- Take time in meeting preparation.
- Know who your participants are and make sure everyone is included in the meeting invite.
- Distribute meeting norms before the meeting starts. This may include items like how to indicate that you wish to talk, when to ask questions, etc.
- Establish clear goals, objectives, and an agenda, and distribute them before the meeting starts.
- Plan the time frame, and then stay within it. Add a 10 minute buffer at the beginning and end of your meeting.
- Limit the number of participants. 6-8 is ideal.
- Get trained on, plan, and rehearse meeting technology and become familiar with its features.
- Record the video conference if distribution is necessary.
During the Meeting
- Show up on time, be present and engaged, and eliminate distractions.
- Be polite and stay on task.
- Allow time for introductions and use names throughout the meeting.
- If worship is part of the meeting, be respectful.
- Review meeting technology, norms, goals, objectives, and agenda.
- If sharing your screen or playing a video during the meeting, prepare these ahead of time.
- If some participants do not have the server bandwidth for video conference, provide a call-in option.
- Appoint a meeting secretary to track important points made by participants if appropriate.
- Do frequent process checks.
- If you have a question and someone is still presenting, use the text box instead of interrupting.
- Assign outstanding tasks, including deadlines, and make sure everyone knows what they are supposed to do.
- Set up the next meeting date and time if appropriate.
- Choose a quiet location and set other technology devices to vibrate.
- Remind everyone to stay close to the microphone or camera.
- Remind participants to mute their microphones when not talking.
- NEVER interrupt another speaker.
- Be explicit about thoughts and feelings.
- Avoid sarcasm, and be careful with humor.
After the Meeting
- Distribute meeting minutes in a timely manner if appropriate and document action items.
- Provide feedback if necessary.
Remember Not To…
- Move frequently during meetings.
- Attend in pajamas.
- Attend sick or on cognitively altering medications.
- Allow your pets, spouse, or children to interrupt the meeting.
- Sit in a rocking chair or swivel chair.
- Take a mobile device into the bathroom with you or lay it down somewhere.
- Drive while attending.
- Video conference in an airport or public space.
- Dress in clothes you would not wear to an actual in-person meeting.
- Eat during a meeting.
- Leave the meeting unexpectedly.
Virtual meetings give us the tools to meet with peers or students thousands of miles away. It also allows a lot more access to one’s personal life and habits if not managed well. Make the best of your next virtual class meeting!