Online meetings are not like face-to-face.  Perhaps surprisingly a successful virtual conversation involves wise use of some parts of your body!

  • Hand: Raise a hand to show you’d like to speak – it might seem formal, but people soon get used to it
  • Mouth: Be aware of how much each person is speaking – including yourself!
  • Eye: If you see someone on the screen who has not been able to contribute, given them an invitation
  • Left finger and thumb: On a computer, toggle frequently (ALT + TAB) between the questions on the Radical Presence webpage and the video-conference screen, so that you can keep both in mind.

How to manage your video screen

  • Another way to keep the questions in mind is to copy them from the webpage and paste them into the Chat box
  • If you are using Zoom on a computer or large tablet, use ‘Speaker View’ so that you can focus on the person speaking, but also see everyone else
  • Alternatively click on the ‘Minimise’ button in the top right-hand corner of your Zoom screen, and then go to the webpage – you will be able to see a small picture of the person speaking in the margin of the questions.

Getting the conversation started

  • If you’ve not met before, take a minute each to say your name, where you live and how you heard of Radical Presence
  • Start by agreeing which of the questions you would most like to discuss – or if there are any others you would like to suggest.
  • Invite someone who has suggested question that proved popular to read it again, so that people can answer it
  • When the most popular question seems to have been answered, turn to another popular question and ask someone to read it
  • You don’t have to answer all of the questions provided, in the order they are written.

Blessed are those who listen

  • Raise your hand when you have something you want to say, and, if necessary keep it raised until you get to speak
  • If you see someone else raise a hand, but they ‘can’t get a word in’, intervene on their behalf
  • Likewise if you notice that someone has been quiet, give them an opening to speak
  • If you are taking more than your fair share of airtime, give others a chance.

Keep the discussion purposeful

  • Tell people about what you learnt from the preparatory reading material – or what you disagreed with!
  • If someone mentions a useful campaign, publication or initiative that may not be well known, encourage them to put a link in the Chat so you can all look at it – and afterwards to post it on the Radical Presence Facebook page.

If you have volunteered as a facilitator

  • Introduce yourself at the very start of the meeting – interrupt if necessary!
  • Then ask for a volunteer to interrupt you 15 minutes before the scheduled end of the conversation – there are some questions below to wrap up with
  • Start with a brief ‘check-in’ allowing each person to take just one minute to introduce themselves and how they are – and thank anyone still speaking after one minute for their introduction!

In the last 15 minutes

  • Summarise the points which people seem to have discovered, and make sure someone will record them in the key thoughts form.
  • Ask some questions for review:
    1. What is the most surprising thing you have heard today?
    2. What is the most worrying?
    3. What is the most encouraging?
    4. What most needs to change and how might that be done, at global, national or local levels?