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:
- What is the most surprising thing you have heard today?
- What is the most worrying?
- What is the most encouraging?
- What most needs to change and how might that be done, at global, national or local levels?