On line branch meetings

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On line branch meetings

Post by RichardB » Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:21 pm

As bad as coronavirus has been, it has forced many societies to rethink how they conduct aspects of their activities, including meetings.

The Croydon and South London branch has now run some very successful on-line branch meetings, courtesy of the efforts of Jeremy Harrison. These have made me realise just how useful virtual meetings are. Our branch areas are quite wide and not everyone can turn up in person to a meeting. Also, a virtual branch meeting in one branch could allow members to join in as a guest from another branch, which would encourage more inter-branch interaction.

I'm not suggesting that real meetings be replaced, but it seems to me that the occasional use of virtual meetings by all branches, allowing other branch members to join as guests, will only serve to enhance the experience of RCTS membership. I'm curious what other members think.

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Re: On line branch meetings

Post by pdeaves » Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:58 pm

I think you have covered everything adequately. I think there is a place for virtual meetings over and above branch meetings. It might be worth considering whether a single 'national' virtual meeting programme would be preferable to umpteen local ones that anyone can attend anyway. One lot of organising rather than thirty or so lots of equal effort organising (the latter possibly getting the same person to present over and over rather than just once).

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Re: On line branch meetings

Post by etr220 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:40 pm

It is not just Croydon and South London Branch that has successfully held virtual meetings: both South Essex and Watford have followed our example, and I believe other branches are planning to do so. Great thanks are due to David Jackman for his assistance to us all, and having taken on the role of Society Zoom-master, in addition to that of web-master. (And it's not our intention to monopolise the virtual metings section on the Society website: I look forward to seeing lots of other branches' offerings there)

As it is still unclear when normal branch meetings will be able to resume, I would urge all branches to be thinking about virtual meetings, and following the motto of 46169: while they're not difficult to hold, at the same time, until you're used to them, it's easy to get things wrong (something which goes for audience and presenters, as well as organisers), so test or trial meetings are recommended. And advice is available from David or myself.

But they are not as good as 'normal' meetings - even if we have attracted members from north of the Humber, not something we would normally do. So when we can can, we will be resuming normal meetings, at least as the mainstay of our programme.

I would agree with Phil though that some kind of national programme of virtual, on-line, meetings would be a good thing for the Society, that our members, from one end of the country to the other (and beyond), can all easily attend. Another point to make is that it not just the audience who can come from far afield: presenters can too - it means we will all be able to look forward to seeing presentations we would otherwise only see at AGMs or Members' Weekends.

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Re: On line branch meetings

Post by webmaster » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:02 pm

Currently Chichester, Croydon, South Essex, Thames Valley, Watford and Windsor & Maidenhead have either held on-line meetings or have them scheduled. As people have been understandably nervous about getting the technology right there have been some branches starting with "test" meetings only advertised to local branch members; going forward it is hoped details will be on the website but maybe not more than a few weeks beforehand, so keep your eyes open. Meetings will be at the usual dates and times with the exception of Thames Valley (who are planning on moving from 3rd Monday to Tuesday to avoid a clash with South Essex). Members (and guests) will need to e-mail the branch secretary for the registration link, if you choose "Yes" to the "Please add me to the branch mailing list" question on the registration form you should then receive subsequent invitations for that branch as they are sent out.

As etr220 said, advice, assistance and a hosting service (me - so you can use the society Zoom account) is available.


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Re: On line branch meetings

Post by IanB » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:21 pm

I took part in the Thames Valley Meeting last night and was very impressed with Zoom meetings. There are lots of possibilities here for our society eg not having to go out on a winters night, no travelling, not so many short notice cancellations by advertised speaker, savings from not having to hire a meeting room and money being saved regarding expenses for speaker. Frequently in RO I see that another branch is having a presentation I would love to attend but due to location this is not possible. Additionally having to have meetings on a monthly basis I think some Branches are finding it difficult to get speakers. At this rate we could be having meetings on an almost nightly basis. Speaking here with the zeal of the newly converted.

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