Facilitating community meetings online (was Dear Coho Professionals)
From: Diane Craig (ddcraiggmail.com)
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 06:28:11 -0700 (PDT)
Here at Gainesville Cohousing we started using Zoom Pro last month for
monthly business meetings, a weekly COVID-19 check-in, and two book clubs.
We have 24 households so at a cost of $6.25 each, we felt it was well worth
the investment. Some people like Zoom better than in-person meetings so it
will be interesting to see if we continue using it after the pandemic ends.

For business meetings, we type our name in the chat to get in the queue to
speak on an issue. The facilitator will call on people in the queue just as
they would during an in-person meeting. The person can indicate if it is a
direct response or clarifying comment by putting "dr" or "cc" in the chat
along with their name and they jump the line.  We also allow people to put
comments in the chat that the facilitator will read through during the
discussion time. Some thought this was too much for the facilitator but
when brought up several people expressed that they are more comfortable
putting in a comment in chat rather than speaking. Although this is
difficult to manage, the facilitator did an excellent job at the last
meeting and was willing to keep managing both methods of discussion so we
will continue doing so.  When we have a vote we have only the "no" votes
indicate their vote in the chat.

We encourage everyone to mute but some don't or forget. The host mutes
people when they are generating noise (wind creates a lot of noise!) and
sends them a private message telling them why they were muted.

We record the meeting for the person taking minutes, and also send her the
chat file that Zoom generates at the end of the meeting.

We have a few people who have a hard time getting into the meetings and too
many emails so we've made some changes recently:
1) We took off the password requirement and use the same Personal Meeting
ID/link every time.
2) For security, we use a waiting room and the host lets them into the
meeting and changes their name, if necessary and/or they don't know how.
3) We use Mosaic cohousing portal and have added a tab called Zoom that
goes directly to the cohousing Personal Meeting room...they end up the
waiting room so they can't accidentally join a meeting in progress.
4) In our community calendar (also in portal), we include the meeting url
and ID in the event's notes section.

Our small groups or committees generally meet outside as we are blessed
with gorgeous weather right now and plenty of room to space out.

Stay well,

Diane Craig
Gainesville Cohousing
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