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How To Tutorials: The Virtual Meeting Room (VMR)

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Introduction
To understand the synergy that the Meetings Communicator unlocks one must understand the phases and their roles.
 
The Meeting Pack
The Link & List Communicator delivers, one click content. Click a link and you go to a document, blog, flipbook, meeting room, etc. Version updates are instantly available. Content delivery is expedited allowing more time for review.
 
Pre-meeting
The Virtual Meeting Room affords the opportunity for a supported and coordinated pre-meeting phase. The objective is for the committee members to be fully briefed on the views and research of others before the meeting. The virtual meeting room allows members to post, on the record comments, off the record chat, and private messages plus it will allow opinion polling and for presentations to be loaded for sharing.
 
The Meeting
Meetings can be a physical roundtable meeting, online meeting or both. Audio and video conferencing are supported as is a meeting restricted to text messaging.
 
Minute Taking
The Virtual Meeting Room gives structure to minute taking in that it offers templates and content structuring. Draft minutes and action plan structuring can be viewed online during a meeting or later after review and approval.
 
Post-meeting
The post-meeting phase is supported as it gives a home to post meeting action plan feedback and sub-committee reports. Suggested matters for the next meeting of the committee can also be posted in the virtual meeting room.
The Meeting Pack
The Meeting Pack is delivered by the Meetings Communicator App. It is a One Click, Content Communicator that can be built to scroll a list of linked webpages so that content is one click away from scrolling a list. The Communicator Links can be hyperlinked to documents in original format or the documents can be loaded to a variety of webpage builders. The Meeting Pack Communicator offers instant updates and the links can also be offered in the Meeting Room.
The Meeting Room / Wall
The Meeting Room houses the Meeting Wall. The terms tend to be used interchangably.  There are two distinct aspect to the Meeting Room. Firstly, there is the hosting of a premeeting Dashboard which gives a home to off the record "chatbox and private" messaging, loading presentation attachments and on the record "comments."  Secondly there is the meeting that could be physical or online. During a meeting the Meeting Administrator takes notes, the minutes and records decisions on action plans.
Audio and Video Conferencing
Many have their first taste of online meetings by way of a conference call with a shared screen as an optional extra. It is a workable option that is often plagued by shared screen clarity. A shared chatbox helps when the screen cannot be read. Due to bandwidth and system limitations, video may be turned off, with the result that the feeling of inclusiveness is lost.  We have integrated with both Skype and with Free Conference Call.  The latter offers full audio recording, playback and audio word search. The Meetings Communicator is a meeting management system that delivers meeting packs and manages meeting rooms. It can be used with your choice of audio or video conferencing vendor.
Skype
You need to load Skype so as to be able to be invited to join a group chat (Free max is 25 users) or group video chat (Free max is 10 users).
https://www.skype.com/en/features/group-video-chat/
FreeConferenceCall.com
Free max video conference is 1,000 users. Screen sharing, Local dial in telephone numbers. Record and share calls. "  " The service does what it says...The service has been reliable and extremely popular."  www.Forbes.com
Hosting and Setup
All sites are automatically hosted on our dedicated servers. Packages are offered on a DIY, B4U and full administrative support basis.
Confidentiality
All data from our server to yours is encrypted to the highest level available. Password access is layered. The site can be password protected as can content pages and meeting rooms.
Meeting Packs, Meeting Links and Virtual Meeting Room Availability
The COMMUNICATOR delivers one-click content. Access to the meeting room can be immediate, or it can be setup to go live at a specified date and time. For ease of access all links to supporting documents can also be presented in the meeting room. The Site Administrator sets up Hyperlinks to the link tabbs in the meeting room.
In the Site Administration Panel. Select Members' Portal (See Registration & Login) then select:
> Meetings: Add/Manage Meetings
> Add A Meeting >  Select one that has been created
> Edit > Add/Manage Links
> Add Main Menu > Add a title, URL, Sequence No and set the status
PS You can also add sub menu tabs.
The Virtual Meeting Room or Meeting Wall
Every button, page, social media link, audio player, attachment or voting option, etc. can be deactivated by the Site Administrator when the meeting is set up. The Site Administrator starts with a blank page and selects options for instant inclusion. Our Mockup Board Meeting (TFG; The Fashion Group) illustrates options that would typically only be used in a public meeting such as an annual general meeting or a prelaunch review with Q&A to the public or customers with a given loyalty status. Note that establishing private social media groups enhances information availability in closed group board meetings.
 
In the Site Administration Panel. Select Members' Portal (See Sign-up and Registration) then select:
> Meetings: Setup Categories
> Meetings: Add/Manage Meetings > Add a Category
  • The Password Page Notes box should contain information informing the user that access is by invitation only.
  • All password protected pages are independently controlled so a password will have to be set up for each page.
  • Do not fill in the Meta Data information for password protected pages.
> Add A Meeting  - Select the options that you require by setting them to be Active or Inactive.
  • You will need to advise the Meeting Administrator of the username and password that you have selected.
  • Do not fill in the Meta Data fields for private meetings.
  • If you set the meeting status to inactive then you can select a date and time for it to be activated by the system.
Off the Record Chat
An off the record Dashboard Chatbox is available to meeting attendees without meeting registration. As an unregistered participant, comments are shown from an unidentified source. Registering a "username" and "password" will attribute chatbox comments to your username, and it allows others to send you off the record private messages to your username. The Dashboard chatbox can be e-mailed to yourself or others so as to gather diverse opinions. The terms of use of the Dashboard will need to be agreed upon. The Dashboard option, like all other options, will not show if it is not activated. The Meeting Administrator can require that committee members log in to use the Dashboard.
 
You may wish to send notes to yourself by way of the private messenger. Private messages are displayed next to the Meeting Administration row that is highlighted by a light blue background.
 
Private and chat box, off the record chat, is not recorded. There is no schedule that details your login particulars. If you lose your password, then you must create a new one. The site administrator does not have access to private messages.
To login for Dashboard off the record chat: First time users must register. Select the option highlighted below in bright blue. This will open the panel below with the Register heading. Register a Username and Password. Be sure to make a note of it as it cannot be retrieved. Private messaging is private.
On the Record Comments
Company law and meeting protocols may call for on the record comments. On the record, comments are available to the site administrator for review and download. These comments are also displayed in the meeting room and also, participants may elect to "follow" the meeting, and if "followed" they will receive e-mail notification when formal comments are posted.
Registration
Formal site level registration with a verified e-mail address is needed (See above right).  You need to register and log in at a site level for on record comment participation. Site and meeting level registration and login are independent. Meeting login is for off the record chat and for private messages and is done in the meeting room. You only need register at the meeting site level once and you can then follow multiple meetings that you are invited to.  Meeting Registration too needs only to be done once, but it is meeting specific.
You will find the above Login on the Home Page of your Meetings Site.
Social Media Integration
Social media integration options that are activated are displayed and may include Like, Share, Follow, Tweet and Tweet Archive options.
 
Note that a closed, encrypted Twitter Direct Message group is an option to the chat box for under fifty participants. Where this option is preferred the tweet history will automatically be loaded to the Twitter Archive option on the meeting wall. Instagram Direct offers Private and Group Photo and Video Messaging.  The Meeting  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram slideshow options instantly harvest images from these social media sites for review in the meeting.  This integration offers many options for enhancing report backs and for gathering comments from experts during a meeting. When you strategize the use of closed social media groups, think communication and not photography and the benefits it offers to collaborative decision making will surface.
 
Audio Review
An audio MP3 file can be uploaded as a meeting introduction by the Site Administrator. Links to audio and video pages are an alternative.
In Meeting Presentations
Presentation and other documentation offered by participants before, during or after a meeting can be uploaded at any point for others to download.
Opinion Surveys and Voting for Proposals
Members may draft text and image based opinion polls. It is recommended that members be allocated a sequence number range. Each question once answered and submitted will open the next question in a continuous numbered sequence. The poll result will be instantly available, and the site admin will be able to download a spreadsheet that shows who voted for what (if they registered and logged in for, on the record comments.)  The spreadsheeet lists the:
 UsernameEmailPhoneOptionsAnswer
 
If registration was not required, for a secret ballot, then only the option selected and the answer will be filled in.
 
The Site Administrator can open, edit and delete any opinion polls created. eg select:
> Add A Poll/Survey: Text Only
> Manage Text Option Poll/Survey
 
Members of the committee can create polls from within the virtual meeting room but they cannot edit and delete them. This is so as to maintain the integrity of any motion that has been offered. In other words, you cannot change the question once the "ballot paper" has been issued. Members can make new poll surveys and they can request the Site Administrator to delete existing polls. See the Opinion Poll slide above.
Minute Taking
The Meeting Administrator takes notes and the minutes in an administration panel that opens when the Meeting Administrator logs in. This Admin Panel is not visible to meeting participants.

The Meeting Administrator can activate the option to require committee members to login to be able to send Dashboard Chat Messages and Private Messages. With the default at Inactive secret ballots are enabled. The Meeting Administrator can also activate the option to download the minutes provided the Site Administrator has activated this option. If the Site Administrator has not activated minute downloads then the option be available to the Meeting Administrator. There are four Meeting Admin Minute Windows and two Site Admin Presentation Windows. Any window not activated is not displayed. The Meeting Windows are activated by entering a page name in the title field " See MEETING PACK SECURITY above."  The minutes are converted to PFDF format for downloading. Small images can be uploaded to the PDF Editor as separate files but these are best added as attachments in the meeting room.
Meeting Documentation Page Window Templates
Page templates save time in setting up decision, action plan, etc. page table layouts. The minute taker can select page layouts from a drop down list, and the Site Administrator can include custom page layouts for use by the Meeting Administrator.  The following images show the selection of the templates used. Once selected they appear in the CKEditor. If the Source button is selected the code can be copied and pasted to any page. Following the two images below is a slide that shows these page windows as they are seen by members of the committee.
Meeting Documentation Page Windows
There is a max of six, page windows with vertical content sliders. You can position a paragraph so as to be visible together with other windows, e.g., an explanatory note, the agenda item, the decision and the action plan for an item can be positioned for simultaneous visibility. Click the READ MORE option below a window and that window will pop up to offer more content within a larger slider.
 
The first two windows are presentation content windows that the Site Administrator can load and activate.
 
The next four page windows are loaded by the Meeting Administrator or Minute Taker. The Site Administrator registers a Meeting Administrator.  Typically these windows will be used as follows:
  • Site Admin Presentation Window 1
    • Meeting Members and their Contact Details, Site and Meeting Admin details, Designated person whose responsibility it is to ensure that the meeting member is comfortable with the virtual meeting room system and it's enablers,  Meeting Pack Document Version Control and Meeting Ground Rules.
  • Site Admin Presentation Window 2
    • The Objectives for the meeting and possible solutions that have been identified.
  • Meeting Admin Minute Window 1
    • Matters added to the Agenda under "General" at the start of the meeting.
    • Notes on Parked Items or Items Referred to a Sub-Committee
    • Where available the notes should include detail re  What, Where, When, Why, Who and How
  • Meeting Admin Minute Window 2
    • The Agenda with Time Allocations
  • Meeting Admin Minute Window 3
    • The Decisions Taken
  • Meeting Admin Minute Window 4
  • The Action and Feedback Plan
Minutes
 If the option is activated by the Site Administrator, the Meeting Administrator can activate the option to download draft minutes.

The draft minutes download is an unformatted pdf document that is designed for text only.  Images may be included but are best added as attachments.
 
How do we support effective and productive meetings?
We offer support to the Chairperson, Facilitator, Time Keeper, Minute Taker and the Meeting Members.
  1. The Chairperson is akin to a referee who manages the meeting during the "scrum down" as well as during deliberations pre and post meeting (on and off the field). He will allow new matters onto the field ( under General), or he will refer these matters to a sub-committee or a future meeting.  He should in advance, call for members to prepare presentations. His job is to manage personalities, intervene and keep the meeting on track. Scope creep must be identified, and out of scope matters must be referred to a sub-committee or the next meeting. The Chairman should engage, probe, ask questions so as to encourage contributions and inspire thought. He may also solicit contributions from members by sending private messages, and he may invite specialists to make presentations.
  2. The Facilitator should draft Opinion Polls and Dashboard Chat Questions.  Using these features will save time as all can simultaneously offer chatbox opinions or they can vote on the poll surveys. The primary role of the facilitator is to ensure inclusiveness and to summarise so that there is clarity on each agenda item.
  3. The Time Keeper must nudge the meeting along a timeline so as to allow time to discuss, decide and draft an action plan.
  4. The Minute Taker records comments and takes minutes with a focus on what, not who, covering key ideas, decisions and action plans.  The minute taker can, at the instance of the Chairperson, release the draft minutes at the conclusion of an agenda item, at the end of the meeting or after they are approved.
  5. Meeting members must participate without trying to dominate. They will have been appointed for their skills or because they can represent the views of a stakeholder group. They must participate in chat box opinion surveys and poll surveys or vote on text or image proposals so as to find the solutions needed.
 
As outlined I believe that the Meetings Communicator is ideally placed to support the attainment of better, faster and cheaper meetings.
Please offer comments below. No matter where you are we look forward to supporting your meetings to success.
 
 
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