Saturday, March 21, 2020

Mar 21, 2020 Toastmasters Meeting - First Online Meeting

Today we had our first ever online Toastmasters meeting and what a success it was!

(photo credits: Pat Maliksi)

Shown above attending in today's historic meeting were (L-R, top-down): Guest Mylene Galit, Pat Maliksi, Gigi Santos, Lita Hidalgo, Ching Bognot, Raul de la Vega, Carlo Jabat, Porsh Maliksi, Lilia Sarmiento, Loise Banez, Cristina Yung, Ellen de Guzman, Marlon Sanchez, Pam Patacsil, me, Renzo Vergel de Dios, Jude Ola, guest Jan Mangahas, Erika, Ed Ramirez, guest James Exequiel, Margaret Yung, guest Heather de la Vega and Leah Catapia. Not in the photo were Venneth Santos and Jeff Ganaba.

Just to ensure the members become familiar with the meeting platform Zoom, the club officers led by Club President Cristina Yung, arranged a trial run with meeting host TM Pat Maliksi last night at 8 pm.

Familiarity with the Zoom Meeting Platform

I'm glad that our club leaders thought of the trial run. I've never attended a Zoom online meeting before. Neither am I familiar with the software that goes with it. I only know that several Toastmasters clubs who meet online, whether they're online clubs or otherwise, use it as the platform of choice.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, some clubs have started meeting online. Soon enough, "Zoom" became the buzzword among Toastmaster circles. And why not? How else would clubs meet with all the lockdowns, community quarantines, and the general scare that's already gripping many countries?

Zoom Test Run

So with the link sent by TM Pat, a few of us were able to join in the test run meeting last night at 8 pm. Joining in the test meeting as shown below were Pat, Jude, Loise, me, Ellen and Cristina. Dolly and Ed joined in, briefly.

(photo credits: Pat Maliksi and Ellen de Guzman)

Pat had a Pro Zoom account and utilized her expertise to help us through the process of joining (and staying) in the meeting. I thought the process of getting in was quick and easy. Since I was just using an android phone, I didn't have the luxury of a bigger screen to see whatever other controls or features that were available.

If you wish to learn more about Zoom, our district officer Nomel Gilongos posted a link, "A Complete Beginner's Guide to Zoom".

First Online Meeting in Zoom

Members and guests have been asked to join the meeting as early as 1:45 pm today. This was to ensure everyone's set up correctly and that we could start promptly at 2 pm. And we did.

Pat was adept in hosting the meeting as she and sister Porsh have had experience with the platform with clients in their family business, BRNDMNL. The meeting turned out better than I expected, actually.

(photo credits: Pat Maliksi)

Observations on the First Online Meeting

Certainly, the meeting dynamics was different from what someone would expect in the usual club meetings we have at our venue in Cassalu. And there were a few hiccups too.

Pat had some very good inputs to keep things going well, before and during the meeting. I'm just a newbie here and I'll also share my observations.

  • Get and Give the Link

    Everyone should get a link and give it to all attendees as soon as possible, especially if the link (or meeting id) is provided just before the meeting itself. I'm guilty here. I had a guest coming, but forgot about sending her the link on time. My bad. Sorry Jan.

  • Do a Test Run

    This is especially true if you're meeting online for the first time. We did our test run the night before our very first meeting. I thought it was a fantastic idea. It's my first zoom meeting and I neither have any experience with the zoom software nor with an online meeting. So it helped those who are unfamiliar and will give them confidence when the actual meeting comes.

  • Proper Lighting

    As Pat suggested, position yourself so lighting is near in front of you rather than the back. Near a window is natural lighting and an inexpensive solution!

    Be careful of backlighting though. I had to close the windows behind me because the afternoon breeze from Laguna Lake was so strong that the curtains were constantly flapping. The intermittent bursts of light from the windows would be too distracting.

  • Background Noise

    Ambient sounds can be annoying. If you can warn family members about the online meeting, then do so. Ask family members to take their squabbles (haha!) outside the room.

    Feed your dog/cat/bird/bat first, before the meeting so they don't need to bark or whine at you because of hunger. That applies too if you have a baby/small kids. Be sure to check on them though during the break.

    If you have noise-cancelling microphones, so much the better. If all else fails, move to another place where it's much quieter, but well lit.

  • Interference

    It pays to have someone experienced with hosting zoom meetings. Pat pointed out that someone probably had an electric fan nearby that was causing a buzzing sound. I didn't hear the buzzing sound, but I did have a fan near my feet because I shut the windows. I moved the fan farther away and Pat stopped complaining. Sorry Pat, that was me.

    She also noticed some buzzing/static noise and pointed out this could be a grounded microphone.

    It's difficult to have normalized volume with many attendees having different devices. So it's really up to you to adjust the volume if too loud. If too soft, advise the person speak closer to his/her device's microphone.

Thank you Maliksi fam (Pat, Porsh and mommy Lilia) for providing the talent, time and zoom account!

Videos from the Online Meeting

Table Topics

Here's a video of select group shots during the Table Topics portion of the meeting.

If you'd like to see all the videos taken from the first online meeting, including the speeches and the evaluation, click on the playlist link below.

Video Playlist of the First BFCTMC Online Meeting

Group Breaks

This is the group during the break and the adjournment in the meeting.

Here's an image of our meeting program for today showing all the roles taken by members and guests.

And that's... a wrap!

BF Community Toastmasters Club Officers
Club Officer PositionMember Name
PresidentCristina Yung, CC
VP-EducationLoise BaƱez, CC
VP-Membership Alvin Panghulan, PM2
VP-Public RelationsLes Aquino, DTM
SecretaryEd Ramirez, DTM
TreasurerMarlon Sanchez, LD1
Sergeant-at-ArmsJude Ola, ACS CL
Immediate Past PresidentChing Bognot, PM4 ALB