Zoom, Google Meets, Facebook Live—chances are you or some of your board members are already using some of these tools for online get-togethers with friends and loved ones. Whether you’re new to videoconferencing or have been doing it already, try these tips (some from members of our PTO and PTA Leaders & Volunteers Facebook group) for smooth and successful virtual meetings.

If you haven’t met virtually yet, do a quick test meeting to get comfortable with the controls.

When you first go live, take your time and allow a few minutes for people to join you. People sometimes need a few moments to tune in.

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Robert's Rules Tip Sheet

PTO Meeting Conversation-Starters

At the start of the meeting, introduce yourself and let viewers know they can post questions in the comments or chat.

Setting a cohost will let someone else help manage the meeting (and also screen share).

Be conversational and relaxed. To the best of your ability, behave as you would at a normal PTO or PTA meeting; you don’t want to sound scripted.

Interact with attendees. At different times throughout the meeting, reintroduce yourself and welcome people who have just joined you.

When it comes time to answer questions, repeat them to your audience and don’t forget to mention who the question came from. You could also designate one person to monitor questions and then they field them to the meeting host.

Document links to consider including in the meeting invitation: agenda, financials, previous months’ minutes, and other official business. Also screen-share the agenda so you can stay on track.

Ask everyone to mute themselves to cut down on background noise.

Ask everyone to use a specific view mode according to your needs: gallery view if you want everyone to see everyone, speaker view if it’s more of a lecture.

With some recent security concerns, if your platform allows, make sure your meeting is password-protected so only invited participants can get in.

Don’t worry if something unexpected happens. If one of your kids walks in (there’s a lot of that happening these days), just roll with it. Remember that you’re broadcasting to other parents; they’ll understand!

Because people are remote, bump up your friendliness a notch to compensate for not being there in person.

Some parents attending the meeting might not want to be on camera. That’s OK! You can help them participate by suggesting that they turn off their cameras, if they want to.

PTO Leaders: How To Use Facebook Live