Conducting Online Meetings

Tips and Tools for Effective Online Meetings

The resources on this page will help clubs conduct virtual meeting more effectively — and help members become better online communicators.

TI Resources

Toastmasters International has shared a huge selection of tools and assets.

District Resource Guide

Download this presentation for tips, tools, and techniques for your club’s online meeting.

Expand Your Virtual Comfort Zone

Virtual meetings provide an opportunity for us to improve our communication skills in new ways. Speaking and looking composed during online meetings will help you improve your digital communication skills and will help clubs conduct meeting more professionally. With practice, strengthening your online communication skills will help you across a range of situations, such as interviews, webinars, videos and webcasts.

In other words, the goal of extending comfort zones applies just as much to a virtual room as to a room in the “real world.”

Holding an online club meeting requires a new suite of tools and techniques to make your meeting successful. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Choose an appropriate video conferencing platform.
    The platform should make it easy for both members and guests to join a meeting from a laptop or smartphone — from anywhere in the world.
  • Provide training and practice sessions for your club.
    Not everyone has the same level of comfort using online meeting tools. Give your clubs members a chance to get familiar with the software.  
  • Clarify how each meeting role should be handled.
    Some meeting roles will need to be managed differently in a digital world. For example, collecting paper ballots in a virtual meeting could present a challenge. Discuss ways to handle these roles with your fellow members.

Online Meeting Resources

Our district PR team has prepared some materials to help clubs plan and hold online meetings. In addition to general suggestions, these resources also provide specific tips and tools for how to handle meeting roles like gathering feedback for speakers, serving as timekeeper, and collecting ballots for voting.

Watch this video (16 min.) for specific suggestions and “how-to’s” for conducting an online club meeting.

Download this presentation for tips, tools, and techniques for your club’s online meeting.

Additionally, be sure to check out the Toastmasters International online meeting webpage for an in-depth discussion about conducting online meetings and contests. There are several tools, how-to videos, and even a large selection of assets that you can download, including branded virtual backgrounds, timer backgrounds, and digital ribbons.

View and Share Ideas

If you’d like to learn new ideas for your meetings, or if you have some ideas to share, participate in an online discussion or visit another club:

Virtual Presentation Tips from a Pro

Patricia Fripp, a frequent guest speaker at many Toastmasters events, including past District 101 Annual Conferences, has shared the following video for conducting more professional Zoom calls:

Matt Abrahams, a professor at Stanford University, has shared these resources:

Online Contest Resources

The District 101 team has prepared several detailed resources for holding online contests:

Video Conferencing Software

Many of these services are free or provide discounts for non-profits. Find one that works for your club:

Best Practices for a Safe Online Zoom Meeting

As the world shifted to an online format, Zoom has emerged as one of the most popular platforms for conducting meetings. Here are a suggestions for creating a safe online environment and keeping meetings safe from unwanted intruders and “Zoom Bombing:”

Must Haves

  • Meeting Links
    • Never make any meeting links, IDs, or passcodes public. DO NOT share the meeting link/id on any social media.
    • Any potential guest should contact the club and express interest in attending. A club officer can provide the link after initial contact.
    • Do not use the regular meeting link for outward-facing events, such as an open house and workshops. Instead, create a new zoom meeting link, with registration enabled, to avoid any surprise visits from unwanted attendees.
  • Running the Meeting
    • Require passcode for all meetings.
    • Enable the Waiting Room.
    • Disable the “Join Before Host” option. The meeting host (typically, the sergeant-at-arms or a designated member) should login a few minutes beforehand to start the meeting.
    • Designate one more officers or members as a co-host. The Toastmaster of the Day is a good choice for this.
    • Be prepared to boot unwanted visitors.
    • Make sure that the “Allow removed participants to rejoin” option is disabled
  • Screen Sharing
    • Allow only the host and co-host(s) to share the screen or start a whiteboard (via Zoom settings).
    • Any request for sharing the screen should be made ahead of time. The meeting host can easily assign the designated person as co-host to allow screen sharing for the duration required.
    • Co-host permission should be removed once the presentation is finished

Optional Settings

  • Using the file transfer tools (for the chat window), you disable any file uploads or restrict the uploads to certain types of files (pdf, jpg, etc.).

Optional Settings