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Conducting Virtual Meetings

With so many people working remotely, it’s important that we find ways to stay in touch. All Ryerson employees are encouraged to closely monitor their Ryerson email as this will be the primary means for the university to communicate with you. 

Continue to use communication methods that still work for your team under remote working arrangements and consider taking advantage of some you may not have tried out before! Make sure to incorporate more personal, real-time modes of communication such as video conferences, web chats or phone calls. These forms of communication allow team members to read one another’s emotions, help boost morale and create opportunity for helpful debate and discussion of ideas.

Successful remote meetings

Determine the purpose and style (e.g. one-on-one, team, department) of the meeting. Consider whether a meeting is necessary. Some topics are best served by another mode of communication (e.g. email, hangouts).

Send an agenda ahead of the meeting to make efficient use of everyone’s time. Stick to the agenda and save details that don’t apply to all participants for one-on-one meetings.

Identify a moderator who invites everyone to introduce themselves and indicates people’s turn to speak to avoid speaking over each other. 

Set aside the first few minutes of the meeting to ask how everyone is doing and have some informal, social connection.

Create structured opportunities for attendees to contribute. It is the moderator’s responsibility to ask each participant if they have anything to contribute to the discussion. Participants can also indicate in the chat box or use the “raise hand” feature in Zoom if they would like to add to the conversation.

Ask participants if they have any accessibility requirements. Before the meeting takes place, ask meeting participants if they have any accessibility requirements to ensure their inclusion. It is the responsibility of the meeting organizer to accommodate these requests. If you need support, complete the Accommodation Feedback Form. For more information, visit the Conducting Accessible Virtual Events & Meetings page on the Accessibility website.

Approved virtual meeting applications

For teaching-related web conferencing, especially where an integrated whiteboard and breakout sessions are required, we recommend using Zoom, external link.

For administrative, highly sensitive and other web conferencing, we recommend using Google Meet, external link.

Find assistance using these tools on the Zoom toolbox page and Google Hangouts Meet Help Centre.

Promote and utilize the closed captioning tool

  • The closed captioning tools in both Zoom and Google Meet can make it easier for participants to follow along with what is being discussed.
  • Encourage presenters to speak clearly in order to support the closed captioning functionality.

Best practices for presenting during a meeting

  • Share documents ahead of time so that participants can follow along or review prior to the meeting.
  • Take the time to explain what is being displayed so that those participants who cannot see (i.e. participants who are blind, partially sighted or are calling in without being able to see the screen) can understand what is being shared.
  • After the meeting, reshare documents and offer opportunities for follow up after the meeting for more dedicated, one-on-one for those who may need it.

Rules to follow if you are recording a meeting

  • Moderator must inform participants that they are being recorded.
  • Moderator must ensure that highly sensitive topics are not being discussed while the call is being recorded.
  • Moderator is responsible for the retention and deletion of the recordings in accordance with Ryerson record retention schedule.

Video and audio quality 

Eliminating audio feedback

If everyone wears earbuds or headphones audio feedback will be eliminated. This includes people calling in with their phones or connecting with any kind of a computer. Remember to plug your earbuds or headphones in every time. 

Eliminating background noise

Whether you call in with your phone or computer, practice turning your microphone off and on. You may not be aware of minor background noises but they add up. The more people on mute the better. Unmute when it’s your turn to speak and mute immediately afterwards. As meetings get larger, have someone chair the meeting and watch the chat. Request your turn to speak via the chat. Unmute and mute.

Eliminating poor audio and video quality

Most people have reasonable internet connectivity, however that can be reduced by being too far away from the wireless access point that is part of your cable or fibre modem/router. If you are in a basement with concrete walls between you and the access point or are a long distance from the access point, your signal may suffer and your audio and video quality may drop to the point people can’t hear what you are saying. Try to stay close to your access point while online. 

If that doesn’t help and you really have poor Internet connectivity, turn off the video so that the outbound bandwidth you have all goes to your audio.