Are you planning an engaging Virtual Meeting?

Then these Seven Steps, from red10 ‘s Hazel Howard, will:

  • Set up your meeting for success
  • Provide a template for meeting invites that you can tailor and use

1. If you can choose your platform…

In red10 we pride ourselves on using our facilitation expertise across virtual tools agnostically. And we find it really doesn’t matter what tool you use, if you have less than six in the meeting.

Yet we need to say – if you do have choice, then for meetings with six or more participants, choose Zoom.

The chances are that your organization has a policy on this, to keep costs down and create consistency.

Yet we need to say – if you do have choice, then for meetings with six or more participants, choose Zoom.

Why? Because currently Zoom has these features that other tools don’t.

2. Every Day or Once a Week

For a “Virtual Face-to-Face”, we’re noticing that these two options seem to work best:

  • Two or Three Meetings, Consecutive Days
    This seems to better match those who need a burst of activity. These people tend to say “We can focus 100% on it that week, and won’t forget where we got to”.
  • Two or Three Meetings, Once a Week
    This seems to better match those who are juggling a lot of other things. These people tend to say “It won’t feel as intense, and it gives us time between meetings to reflect, and complete actions.”

Which fits your situation better?

3. How Long? How many breaks?

We’re finding that:

  • 90 mins is the maximum without a 15 min break
  • 3 hrs needs a 15 min break
  • 4 hrs needs two 15 min breaks
  • 5 hrs needs two 15 min breaks and one 30 min break

4. Clusters or Separate?

In a post-virus world, we will be able to choose again from either:

  • Cluster together in the same rooms
    Teams really appreciate the human contact where possible.
    i.e. a distributed team were all the UK people were in the same room in Cambridge-UK, all the USA people are in Philadelphia-USA.
    In this scenario, we ask everyone to use their own laptop so that we can still speed-up by using tools like Chat and Annotate.
  • Everyone in separate rooms connecting using a tool like Zoom
    This removes the ‘human contact’ that could have been possible, yet it treats everyone equally and allows then to use even the Breakout tool.
    In this scenario, we ask everyone to have two screens if possible – click here to read why.

Which fits your situation better?

5. Do you need “Coffee then Connect”?

  • Have your meeting attendees used the tech platform before? E.g. Zoom.
  • Do your meeting attendees work together regularly?

If you answer yes to both, then skip this suggestion, but if you answer ‘no’ to either question, then you may want to build in 15 mins before the meeting starts for “Coffee then Connect”.

  • Add a 15-min meeting invite before the main meeting starts
  • People can join, say hello to the facilitator (so you know their sound is working), check their video is sharing, switch to Gallery View, open-up Chat, and familiarize themselves with the system.
  • They can then leave their system running and get a drink, coming back ready for the start of the meeting
  • Some people like to hang around after they’ve got their tech set-up and say hello to other people as they join. It’s just like the relaxed informal time before an offsite meeting starts

6. Avoiding gate-crashers

Are you in back-to-back meetings?

Then you might want to use one of these three features – available in most tools:

  1. Waiting room – people have to be let in
  2. Specific meeting ID – see Zoom instructions, including for recurring meetings
  3. Lock doors once meeting has started – see Zoom instructions

7. Meeting invites

Putting the above advice together, here’s an example of a template that you can use – copy and paste, then tailor to your choices:


If you find this article useful, have you seen our Free Kit for Virtual Meetings ?

This is one of the advanced Basecamp articles in our 3Bs Virtual Kit –Basecamp, Behaviours and Bag of Tools.