To meet virtually or not?
Amid a pandemic with safety a top priority, many have turned to virtual meetings, retreats, and conferences. Refraining from physical gatherings will help keep us from getting sick, finding safe ways to gather as a community will help keep us well.
Humans are relational, and even the most extreme introverts need community sometimes. Gathering in the safest ways possible is vital to maintaining healthy communities. COVID 19 is forcing us to get more creative and imagine possibilities beyond physical and virtual meetings. Some events are perfectly suited for Zoom or GoToMeeting. Other events, not so much. As one who has been involved in hundreds of virtual meetings over the last few years, I can tell you I’ve had some fantastic virtual meetings that were refreshing, and I’ve participated in some that were exhausting wastes of time that could have been an email.
I have often wondered:
Should we meet virtually, or will an old-fashioned conference call work well?
Should we meet virtually, or should we try a phone -tree check-in?
Should we meet virtually, or should we postpone until we can safely meet physically?
Should we meet virtually, or should we create a private Facebook group for sharing and discussing?
Should we meet virtually, or can we meet in a parking lot safely to sing songs together in each other’s physical presence?
Should we meet virtually, or could this be an email?
Should we meet virtually, or …?
A few questions to consider when making the difficult decision to gather virtually.
1. Who is your audience?
a. Is your audience virtual meeting and tech-friendly?
b. Do the majority of the people you envision participating have access to everything needed to participate? If yes, what is the plan for the minority that does not?
2. If your audience has never met virtually before, what is your plan for preparing and supporting your audience in this new configuration?
a. Will there be a dial-in voice option?
b. Will there be a practice run?
c. Will there be a person on standby during the gathering to aid with tech issues?
3. Have you researched what meeting system is best for your group (Zoom, Adobe Acrobat Connect, GoToMeeting, Google Hangout, etc.)?
4. Are you prepared to host a virtual meeting (do you have the right equipment, software, bandwidth, etc.?)
5. What is the purpose of the gathering?
a. How will you focus the gathering?
b. How will you adapt the schedule for optimal engagement and impact?
If you decide, a virtual meeting is best for your group gathering. Check out the links below for some guidance and best practices.
We want to know what choices your groups have made. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your experiences of alternative meetings with us. We will share them via #DWConnect and across social media that we may continue to stretch, learn, and grow together in faith and life.