Follow this sample agenda for tips on hosting online events.

Example event: 10am-11am

9:50am

  • Log into the conference call tool about 5-10 minutes early (or a bit earlier if you’re hosting a presenter and need time to prep them)
  • Do not log in any earlier than 25 minutes early or at any time other than your scheduled call time as others use these conference lines

9:50am-10am

  • It can sometimes be awkward to join a community conference call, especially for newbies. People can’t see each other and may not know how the calls work. Help lessen the awkwardness and welcome your guests.
  • As attendees call in, help them know they’re in the right place and what to expect: Give periodic “Hi all, this is NAME. Welcome to the X call, we’ll get started in about Y minutes” announcements.
  • Chitchat with those who are already on the call:
    • I see that NAME is on the call, welcome. Is this your first time? How did you hear about it?
    • Where are you calling in from?
    • What are you hoping to chat about today?
    • NAME, it’s so good to have you on the call again! Last time you told us about X–how did that go?

10am-10:02am

  • Introduce yourself (don’t forget!), share that you’re volunteers
  • Housekeeping/etiquette
    • Audio
      • Use a headset rather than a speakerphone or computer microphone, when possible
      • These calls are for discussion, however always mute yourself when not speaking
        • Via computer: Mute and unmute with the mic icon on your participant card
        • Via phone: Mute with your phone controls and unmute with **
      • Give a quick “this is [NAME]” to announce yourself each time you speak
      • Please stay on topic and share speaking time with your fellow participants
      • [Are you recording the call? Let the attendees know]
    • Notes
      • Be prepared to follow along with and contribute to our collaborative notes
      • Help us know who’s on the call, add yourself to the the roll call section

10:02am-10:10am (max)

  • Attendee intros
    • Introductions can either be really good or really bad.
      • Good = getting attendees to participate right away, helping people connect
      • Bad = dragging on for too long and eating up valuable call time, attendee starts telling a life story
    • Making them good takes flexibility and willingness to intervene when things are taking too long or going in the wrong direction.
    • A good way to help attendees know when it’s their time to speak is to use the roll call list in your collaborative notes: “This is NAME. Let’s start at the beginning of the roll call list and work our way down. Just unmute and introduce yourself after the person ahead of you has finished.”
    • If you believe there are others on the call who haven’t added themselves to the roll call and therefore haven’t introduced themselves you can invite them to do so, or feel free to move on.
      • “This is NAME. Thanks, all, and welcome. I believe there are some others who haven’t yet introduced themselves. Would you like to give a quick hello?”
      • “This is NAME. Thanks, all, and welcome. I believe there are others who haven’t yet introduced themselves but in the interest of time, I’m going to move us forward.”
    • If you need to intervene:
      • Don’t wait until there’s a good moment, as that moment might not come. Just jump in with something like “This is NAME. Apologies. Since we only have a short amount of time together, I’m going to jump in and move us forward.”

Closing

  • Gratitude
  • Plug your online group: “Don’t forget that we have conversations like this all month-long in our online community. Be sure to join us in the forum at URL.”
  • Plug NTEN: “Just wanted to remind everyone that the X online community and these calls are made possible by our sponsoring organization: NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network. NTEN is a membership organization and you can help support this group by becoming a member.”