It’s hard to believe that here at KVIN we’ve been meeting virtually for nearly 10 months. So that we can continue to keep our meetings accessible and inclusive, we sat down, virtually that is, with our members to gather views.
Through a series of small group discussions, members reflected on their experiences of our zoom sessions and gave some pointers as to how they can work best for everyone and how they might develop in the future.
It was recognised that being online together is different from meeting face to face. You cannot dip in and out of different chats in the same way and the difference in internet connection can make it hard to know just when to come in on a conversation. That said, when it comes to making the sessions work, we were able to come up with some points that we can all work with;
- Welcome all to the group.
- Let everyone who wants to participate have their say.
- Be thoughtful of when you speak. Be courteous, and don’t interrupt the speaker.
- Allow the host to direct the session; they will bring others in and indicate whos’ turn it is to speak next.
- Respect others’ opinions even if you disagree.
- Be polite, avoid swearing and discriminatory language that others may find offensive.
- Minimise any external noise that might make it difficult for others to hear; turn your radio or TV off and mute yourself if you need to answer the door or phone.
- If you’re not comfortable you can leave at any point and contact us with any concerns you might have.
- If it gets too busy, recognise that we may use breakout rooms to help make things run smoothly. We will always bring people back together at the end.
Above all it was felt that our zoom and telephone group services should be a positive space where we can chat together and support each other and that confidences are respected.
And, what about the future?
People enjoy our guest speakers and feel that these should continue. To help the discussion stay fresh we’ll use breakout rooms where possible to host different discussions such as a chat about the latest box sets our members are binging or an issue that needs some campaigning work. There’s also a feeling that these virtual groups should carry on in some form once lockdown is over.