As the Chair, your key role is to be a facilitator. You will be responsible for watching the time, ensuring
the discussion stays on topic and keeping things moving so attendees don’t get frustrated. And it
takes more effort and focus to be a Chair of a virtual meeting than an in-person meeting. Being wellprepared is the first step.
With eSCRIBE, we automate your meetings with the click of a button. However, if you are manually managing your meetings, here are some tips from Debi Wilcox, Registered Parliamentarian and Meeting Specialist.
Manual Remote Meeting Tips
- You should repeat the motion when the vote is called to ensure that all members are aware of the items being voted on.
- Members may verbally reply by unmuting their mics in response to a call from you to identify those who are ‘against or are abstaining’. Those in favour would not need to respond.ORMembers may reply by a holding up hand for you and Clerk to confirm those in favour and those against the motion. You will confirm the vote and advise if the motion is Carried or Lost.
- If a recorded vote is requested, the Clerk will conduct the vote by alphabetical order of members present, members will unmute their mic to respond. The Clerk will advise of the vote. The Chair will confirm the vote and move on to the next item.
- To guide speaker order of members with questions/comments, a list can be developed as needed by the Chair (have a listing of all members handy and mark this up when members show their hand to speak).
- Chair (or the co-host/Clerk) can spot ‘hand-waves’/raised hand, internal chats or reaction emojis (ie: clap, thumbs up) when a member would like to engage/interact in discussion
- We take care of these tips and more with just the below modules.
Conference Platform (Zoom, GoToMeeting, etc)
Below tips are based on Zoom:
- Customize the virtual room in advance with meeting host (usually the Committee Coordinator).
- Chair’s avatar should remain visible and unmuted throughout the session (mic on, camera on). A
speaker’s avatar box automatically becomes the largest among the name tiles.
- Except for the Chair’s, mute all participants’ mics and their cameras set to off.
- Only when a member is speaking should the mic be unmuted and camera on. Once finished, mute
mic and turn off camera. This can be done by the co-host if a member forgets to do this.
Other General Best Practices
- Prepare a script for the meeting based on the agenda. It is very easy to lose track of speakers,
discussion, process for going into a closed meeting, who is scheduled to speak on a specific item
etc. Having a script ensures nothing gets missed.
- Speak clearly, slowly and ensure that everyone is aware what item is being discussed. Remote
attendees do not have access to body language and other non-verbal cues.
- Run through housekeeping rules of the meeting (muting, cameras off, process for online voting,
introduction of presenters, agenda format, timing of items, cell phones off, no multi-tasking).
- Have a speaker list prepared (column list of names on the top and agenda items listed on the first
column for ease of marking up)
- Be aware of your lighting and background. Rather than a ceiling light – use a light in front of you,
one to the side and one behind you – all at table level.
- Be camera ready: Your eyes should be level with the middle of your computer screen, so lift your
monitor/laptop – pile of books always works! Don’t forget to look into the camera once in awhile
to make direct eye contact.
- Ensure a phone number is available for members to dial into the meeting should they experience
faulty hardware or poor connection.
About Debi Wilcox
A highly experienced meeting management professional, seasoned coach with her in-the-trenches business experience as a Municipal Clerk, senior government Director and Registered Parliamentarian. She is now a consultant on meeting management, e-agenda change management, board orientation/efficiencies and parliamentary procedure.
Get In Touch for More Information
eSCRIBE understands each organization is different. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 (888) 780-5867.