Running a meeting on Zoom

This week I faced the challenge of running a meeting on Zoom, not for 7 or so people as I’ve done in the past, but for 33 people!

I’ve written in the past about how I much I appreciate running a meeting on Zoom for campaign training. A few years ago working with a Spanish NGO, I helped them to build a theory of change with colleagues in various locations across their country. But there were 7 colleagues, which made it relatively easy to manage.

Zoom for 33 people

This week we held a quarterly meeting of the Detention Forum. We were expecting around 25 people – and we got 33 in the end! We realised that this had all the ingredients for chaos, so in advance of the meeting we shared some suggestions on ground rules.

So we suggested that only one person should speak at once. But also we encouraged people to use the hands up icon to indicate when they wanted to speak, and use the thumbs up/ applause icons when others were speaking to express support.

As the meeting progressed, it struck us as organisers that you needed more than just one person to manage this process online. But three of us could scan the participants’ list for hands up. We could also monitor the chat function and use that as a way to invite people to speak.

Invaluable chat function

I was fascinated by how useful the chat function was in the discussion – as people were speaking, colleagues were adding notes and links to articles/ websites. And once people had finished speaking they could also add a note with some links for more information. Whilst we couldn’t see each other, the chat function helped to make this online discussion more interactive and free flowing.

And then I shouldn’t have been surprised at the request of some participants for a copy of the chat history as it contained such useful information. I am sure that there is still so much to learn. But at this time of global challenge and national lockdown, it is exciting to see how we can use technology to continue our collaboration to further our collective mission!

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