What works / what doesn't?
Some ideas from the online club:
- Applause doesn’t work (the meeting chair can be heard but not the general audience so you have to put your hands clearly into the camera view and use large clapping gestures. Benefit from body language is less dramatic if you are sitting & you need to rely more on voice emphasis (pace and modulation). You also have to look at the camera while speaking (not the screen), & you generally can’t see your audience so you don’t get visual feedback.
- And then, there’s the technology. The video-conferencing services we have tried are certainly good, but they can’t perform miracles when the internet is over-burdened. We are currently using the Zoom platform which seems to cope well with few delays or dropouts.
- Being the moderator (equivalent to a chairing a traditional meeting) brings with it extra responsibilies. Firstly you need to ensure the correct participants can speak or present from their computer screens at the right time.Then there's the issue of timing - we tend to have the person who is timing set their background to yellow and then red to let speakers know when they have a minute to go / their time's up. This timekeeper also clicks on the Hands Up button in Zoom so that they can be clearly seen at the top of the screen.
- Most online meeting platforms also have an inbuilt Instant Messaging function – they're useful for stating the title of a presentation, assisting people who do not have significant experience in their role (eg chair) but sometimes people don't notice they've been sent a message. If you are doing a powerpoint presentation or watching the camera when you speak then you cannot see a message on the screen.
Where are we now?
We maintainour enthusiasm and are continuing to learn.
As well as allowing members to develop a skill that will likely prove valuable in future, the online club allows members of Rostrum who have re-located and no longer live near a club to continue within Rostrum wherever they are in the world.
Video: Testing online meetings in the early days!