Maintaining Committee Communication
Whilst Bowling Clubs are closed across the nation along with social distancing measures in place making it difficult for committee members to get together and discuss important issues face to face it is still imperative those responsible at clubs to continue to maintain the basic operations of a club and perhaps even more importantly start to plan for the future.
In this article we look at ways club committees can stay connected through multi-person online software platforms. We will provide four options (bearing in mind there are plenty more available) and highlight the strengths of each platform so clubs can make an informed choice on which method may best suit their needs. Make sure you also check out some handy tips on etiquette for your online meetings at the end of the reviews.
- Zoom – https://zoom.us
Zoom unifies cloud video conferencing, simple online meetings, and group messaging into one easy-to-use platform. Zoom is easily used across multiple devices, mobile users will need to download an App. Zoom is renowned for its ease of use and stable video conferencing ability. It also has a great screen sharing feature which allows others to see your computer so you can present slides or other information to all users.
Pricing: Zoom Meetings & Chat has a free version and does not offer free trial. Zoom Meetings & Chat starts at $20.99/month. The free version allows for up to 100 participants in a video call up to 40mins in duration. The paid version will allow video conferencing up to 24hr in duration and also allows recording which can be saved directly to your PC.
Rating: Overall 4.6/5
Ease of Use 4.5/5 Customer Service 4.5/5
Features 4.5/5 Value for Money 4.6/5
- GoToMeeting – https://www.goto.com/meeting
An industry leader in web conferencing, GoToMeeting is trusted by millions of people everyday for professional real-time virtual communication. GoToMeeting provides a fast, easy and reliable professional online meeting solution that enables customers to meet face to face, share presentations and chat with colleagues, all with the click of a button. GoToMeeting pairs productivity with flexibility to let employees work effectively anytime, anywhere on any device. GoToMeeting allows up to 26 people in the system at a time.
Although no downloaded software is required it is important to have a good internet connection and a relatively up to date PC. GoToMeeting can also be used via Iphone (IOS) or Android. Screen sharing is also available.
Pricing: GoToMeeting starts at USD 12.00/month. GoToMeeting does not have a free version but does offer a free trial.
Rating: Overall 4.5/5
Ease of Use 4.4/5 Customer Service 4.3/5
Features 4.4/5 Value for Money 4.3/5
- Microsoft Teams – https://products.office.com/en-au/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software
Cloud-based solution designed for business communications to help teams manage chat, meet, file sharing, team discussions, and more. It is designed to integrate with the suite of Microsoft products such as Word, Excel and Power Point. The video conferencing allows for up to 250 people and can be recorded for playback later. The one major downside to Teams is that it requires all users to have it on their PC or mobile.
Pricing: Microsoft Teams has a free version and offers free trial. Microsoft Teams starts at $6.90/month. It is also generally available is the suite of Apps when you purchase Office 365.
Rating: Overall 4.4/5
Ease of Use 4.2/5 Customer Service 4.2/5
Features 4.3/5 Value for Money 4.4/5
- Google Hangouts – https://hangouts.google.com/
Google Hangouts is a communication software that allows users to message contacts, start free video or video calls with one or more person. It also team chats for up to 150 people. The application works in sync with the other Google applications. It also comes as a Chrome extension and can be used across all devices.
Hangouts also lets you make video calls via your phone’s front-facing camera or web-cam. As Hangouts is designed to be collaborative, you can have up to 10 people in on the call.
If you’re using Gmail, you’ll have an option to send a Hangouts message directly from their contact details. Video calls cannot be recorded in the free version. Multimedia files cannot be shared across this platform.
Pricing: Google Hangouts has a free version and does not offer free trial.
Rating: Overall 4.5/5
Ease of Use 4.6/5 Customer Service 4.3/5
Features 4.3/5 Value for Money 4.6/5
Information and ratings supplied by Capterra an Australian leader in software reviews. Search, compare, and choose the right software with confidence.
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Virtual Meeting Etiquette
- Test your technology BEFORE the meeting time in case you have to download updates or resolve technical issues.
- Review the agenda and be clear on the role you are expected to play. (If possible, rotate tasks so people can play different roles*.)
- Complete any pre-reading and come prepared with ideas and opinions – your own and those of your sub-committee/local experts.
- Find a quiet place away from distractions.
- If you are attending from home, make sure you are dressed professionally and your environment is appropriate (no bedrooms etc).
- Be on time and make sure you are available for the entire meeting.
- If you are the facilitator and are recording the meeting make sure everyone is aware of this.
- Use video and conduct yourself as if you’re all in the same room – be present. If sound quality is poor, supplement with phone audio.
- No multi-tasking – put your phone away and only use your keyboard for taking notes.
- Stay seated and in front of your camera for the entire meeting.
- No eating.
- Mute your sound if you’re unavoidably in a noisy environment or to avoid audio feedback, but be ready to speak at any time.
- Allocate time for social chit-chat/relationship building and use a connection process to open the meeting, encouraging everyone to participate. If you are the meeting facilitator, make sure remote attendees have an equal voice compared to any attending in person.
- Speak up to get attention if you have something to say.
- End the meeting with a connection process and confirm outcomes and next steps.
- Minutes and action items to be distributed to all participants via email within 24 hours of the meeting.
- If you have recorded the meeting make it available for others.
- Facilitator: Designs and facilitates meeting
- Note taker: Takes action notes/takeaways and emails them to everyone soon after the meeting and if the meeting is recorded make sure it is available for others.
- Technical support: Assists with technical troubleshooting
- Time keeper: Keeps time
If you would like further assistance please contact your Regional Bowls Manager.