Due to the widespread concerns generated from the Coronavirus situation (COVID19), and to support the practice of social distancing, the Corporate Toastmasters club decided to hold club meetings online from 25th Mar 2020. I happen to be the VP of Education of the time and took an active role in bringing our club meetings online. This page documents what we did for our club to run a successful TM meeting online. Before proceeding, I would to acknowledge the many existing online TM clubs who shared their resourced pre-COVID19 lockdown, some of which has served as guide for this guide!
- Platform: Zoom
- Meeting Size: 8 ~ 12
- Duration: 1 hours
- See Sample agenda (pdf)
- We chose to use Zoom as it was the platform most people are familiar with. Being a public club where people from all sorts of life come from, using a widely popular platform helps make the barriers toward joining your meeting as low as possible.
- A meeting size of ~10 seems to have the best dynamics in my opinion. Everyone gets a chance to speak within the hour.
- Due to people's attention span and the freedom brought by online, running an online session for $> 1$ hour is tricky in my opinion. Luckily, our club meeting is already one hour long to being with so their is not much adjustment in terms of duration.
- Mute yourselves when not speaking.
- If possible, rename yourself to “<Name> - <Role>”
- Though most of us are muted, we still encourage everyone to do an online clap.
- Either by showing your hands clapping on video.
- Use Zoom's clap reaction tutorial here.
- Ask people in the meeting to not take pictures or videos without permission.
- Ask if the speakers or anyone will want to take a video of themselves for feedback.
We tried to make most of the meetings roles for our club the same online and offline as much as possible. The roles that have (slightly) changed were listed below.
To inform the audience of the timing status, you may choose one of the approaches below:
- Use Zoom's virtual background to indicate green, yellow, and red mark. You may download the virtual backgrounds here .
- Run the timer on your mobile phone, then wave that phone towards the camera during the green, yellow, and red mark.
- You may also choose to install a Toastmaster Timer App (e.g. TM timer & lights)
- Note that we also tried using Zoom share screen + an online TM timer. However, the we did not like the way the share screen makes the shared screen (i.e., timer) bigger than the actual speaker.
- If the speaker wants to take a video of the session for self feedback, the session can be recorded by any of the methods below. Personally, I prefer the first one (speaker record themselves) as that is less work for the Zoom operator.
- The speaker can screen record the session. See tutorials here.
- The Zoom operator can record the session then upload it to some shared folder.
- To make the communication between speaker and evaluator easier, you want take advantage of online forms. See more description of my setup here.
Body Gesture Evaluator
You may want to try adding this role whose main job is to look at the body gesture of people during the online meeting.
- If you want TM specific virtual backgrounds, check out the virtual background released at the official TM site out.