*** This blog post was updated on 26th March 2020 ***
Most meetings in the current situation surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic will be carried out “virtually” avoiding face-to-face contact and the risk of infection.
There are many options including “Facetime” which is good for one-to-one meetings though it does require an Apple device. Microsoft’s Messenger offers similar video exchanges and is good for one-to-ones. Google Duo offers similar functionality.
There are a number of options which can assist with larger meetings such as a Board or Committee.
Even where your constitution does not explicitly allow your Board to meet virtually, in the current situation, no regulatory body is going to criticise you for taking up this practise.
You may wish to consider a WhatsApp Conference call or other Conference call options such as WhyPay.net This last has the advantage that it can be used without a smart phone.
There are also options which allow multiple video which can be useful such as Zoom. You download this to your PC desktop and can also find these in the Apple iStore and the Google Play Store for mobile devices. These options work well if everyone has a smart device and good bandwidth.
Slack is also a joint working tool you may wish to explore. It also has options for downloading to your PC desktop and mobile devices.
Remember there is a learning curve involved in using these apps and becoming comfortable with them.
It’s a question of familiarity. The more often you use these options the easier they become.
Also be aware that use of these options throws into sharp relief the necessity to conduct business virtually in an orderly manner.
Conference calls where everyone speaks at once are not a good experience. The chairperson of a virtual meeting has exactly the same function as the chair of a face-to-face meeting.
Appoint a chairperson and co-operate with them Wait until you are asked to contribute. Do more listening than speaking. Propose solutions and seek to make decisions that are best for your organisation.
If you wish to discuss further how to use these options, please email ACVO Development Officer Sandy Mathers firstname.lastname@example.org.