10 Tips for Powerful Online Meetings From Cambridge Toastmasters

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Gaining experience holding Online Meetings is timely and empowering

CAMBRIDGE, Ont - Businesses everywhere are holding online meetings with employees working from home, but it takes preparation and practice to make the most of them, says Darrin McPhail, president of Cambridge Toastmasters.

Cambridge Toastmasters is meeting online instead of in person due to physical distancing during Coronavirus.

“It’s not as simple as turning on your computer,” says McPhail. “It can be a little more work to prepare an online meeting than an in-person meeting. Even so, once people get comfortable with meeting online, a virtual meeting can sometimes be more efficient and effective than meeting in person.”

The Key to success of an online meeting – indeed, any business meeting in-person or not – is to have a clear purpose, an agenda and a time limit, McPhail says.

“It’s up to the chair of the meeting to keep things under control and respect the time of everyone involved. Nobody wants to sit in a meeting they feel is a waste of time,” he said.

Toastmasters International members learn, practice and receive feedback about their public speaking and presentation skills during weekly club meetings.

Cambridge Toastmasters is celebrating 46 years of helping members find their voice, communicate clearly and conduct meetings with purpose and effect. With social distancing now keeping people away from in-person gatherings because of the coronavirus COVID-19, the club has temporarily moved to online meetings over zoom.us.

Here are 10 tips to help make your next online meeting run smoothly:

• Whatever video-conferencing platform you use, conduct a test run prior to the meeting
• Meeting organizers should send attendees a copy of the agenda in advance
• Choose a quiet location before joining the meeting to reduce potential distractions for both yourself and other attendees
• Arrive on time or let the organizer know ahead of time if you will be late or unable to attend
• Mute your microphone when not speaking
• Adjust your camera so you can be seen, and look into the camera—not the monitor—when speaking
• Dress as you would for an in-person meeting
• Be aware of your background and make sure it's appropriate
• Stay focused and avoid checking email or perusing other materials unrelated to the meeting
• Respect fellow attendees by refraining from distracting behavior like eating or chewing gum

Visitors are welcome to join in online on Thursdays. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m., but feel free to log in a bit early to get comfortable with the software. Members will be ready to help from 7 p.m. when you log in to ZOOM.us at the link below.

Look for local club information for Cambridge Toastmasters  as well at the link below.

Since 1974 ... And now learn online skills

“Cambridge Toastmasters has been meeting in person since 1974. Now we’re practicing the same powerful communication skills in a new way. Join us to learn and practice strategies to make your next online meeting memorable,” said McPhail.

About Toastmasters

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colo., the organization's membership exceeds 357,000 in more than 16,600 clubs in 143 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.

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