At this moment in time, the most important thing is to keep our members safe and healthy. One way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to switch in-person chapter meetings to be remote for the time being via conference calls or video conferencing. Below are some services you can utilize as well as a few tips for running a successful meeting. Check out the bottom of the page for information about VFP Social Hours and tutorials on how to use Zoom.
At the VFP Office, we tend to use Zoom for our conference calls, but there are many great services (all the ones below have a free option). These options are great because they have the option for participants to participate via video conferencing and/or dial-in like a normal conference call.
- Zoom (recommended, especially if you choose a paid service)
- Limitations on free tier: Group meetings are limited to 100 participants and 40 minutes
- Paid tier: $14.99/month
- The service is fully free for participants
- Great for conference calls without video
- Limitations: Only supports up to five simultaneous video feeds
- Limitations on free tier: Only 10 participants
- Paid tier: $15/month
- Limitations on free tier: Up to 1,000 Call Participants, Up to 5 Web Participants
- Paid Tiers:
- Starter $10/month (Up to 1,000 Call Participants Up to 15 Web Participants)
- Plus $20/month (Up to 1,000 Call Participants, Up to 50 Web Participants)
- Limitations: Only 10 participants
Have another service you’ve used that you think we should add to our list? Email email@example.com!
Tips for a Successful Meeting:
Be firm about sticking to the agenda / respect everyone’s time: we know that for many, the social aspect of meetings is extremely important. Designate some time in the meeting for that at the beginning for social discussions to respect the time of those who can only stay on the call for important decisions, specific discussions, etc.
Most video calling has the same basic features: a mute button, a screen-sharing option to let other callers see what’s on your computer, and a chat function to type messages to other users. The websites for the services generally have very easy tutorials and FAQ’s that you can use to familiarize yourself with the technology before the call.
Mute your microphone if you are not speaking: background noise can be extremely distracting and make it difficult for others to hear the discussion.
Make sure everyone has the ability to share their thoughts and opinions: At the beginning, designate someone to take stack and ensure that everyone gets to speak. For those on their computers, the chat function can be used to ask to be put in the stack. It is important that everyone be able to contribute to the discussion.
If not everyone is on video, make it clear who is speaking: If there is a large group of people, it can be difficult to follow who is speaking. If it is not obvious who is speaking, make sure to say “This is so-and-so” before giving your contribution.
- Check out more information in this Video Communications Best Practice Guide. Some of it is more applicable for business meetings, but much of it applies to any video conferencing!
VFP Social Hours:
Every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 pm. (EDT) | 1 p.m. (CST) | 12 pm (MST) | 11 am (PST).
We are also planning a number of teach-ins about topics that we all know and care about, to discuss ways of keeping involved, to include: Save Our VA, Deported Veterans Advocacy Program, Addressing Imperialism, Decolonization, Fundraising, and more.
Click here to request the call-in information.
- Watch the tutorial video on their website on how to join a Zoom Meeting
- They also have a "Frequently Asked Questions" section on their website for those who feel like they want more guidance.
- Help make your meetings more successful for participants and hosts: Follow the tips listed above on this webpage!