Tips for Fun & Effective Video Meetings: Student Organizations

While students are practicing stay-at-home and social distancing policies, many student organizations are looking to video conferences to maintain communications and continue programs. We’ve put together a list of tips to help make the transition to video meetings fun and effective for your student organization!

Basic meeting facilitation reminders:

  • Set an agenda and share with group ahead of meeting. Make sure to include any goals and outcomes for the meeting.
  • Take attendance and consider having someone take notes.
  • Send out the meeting link in advance with a date and time.
  • Set aside 10 minutes at the beginning of the meeting to let each other check in and vent if necessary. Consider using a quick icebreaker!
  • Before the meeting begins, establish some best practices for how you want to handle interruptions and allow everyone the chance to be heard.
  • In collaborative situations, assume best intentions! Everyone is stressed during the COVID-19 outbreak and it’s important to be compassionate to each other and ourselves.

Tips for keeping your video meetings safe and secure:

  • Build some extra time in for technical difficulties
  • Require a password if possible
  • Enable a waiting room if possible
  • Change settings to only allow the host to share screen
  • Make your meeting invite-only
  • Lock the meeting once all expected participants have joined to prevent unwanted strangers from entering
  • If you have to step away for a call or have a lot of background noise, make sure to mute your audio to avoid interrupting the discussion.

Alternatives to Zoom:

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Google Hangouts
  • GoToMeeting 
  • Skype (has new Meet Now feature)
  • Discord
  • Riot

Advice for refocusing your organization’s work:

  • Think creatively about how you can still have an impact:
    • Are there research needs that you now have the extra time for?
    • Are there organizational tools you could take time to be developing?
    • Are there old projects you could share with new members?
  • Take this time to go into planning mode:
    • Develop officer manuals
    • Develop hand-off materials so that new members can easily learn about ongoing initiatives
    • Update your website or social media platforms
  • This can be a great time for peer learning! Hear from the experts in your group or do some networking outside your organization.

Fun virtual activities besides meetings:

  • Set up a virtual social hour to give everyone a chance to talk about life outside of work/school.
  • Have a game night with online collaborative games or competitive apps!
  • Host a virtual potluck! Have everyone share their recipes and enjoy eating together.
  • Dance party! Assign a DJ and get your groove on.

Bonus Tip: Using video is likely to be much more engaging than audio only. We highly encourage you to take advantage of video options on your computer or phone if possible!

What is your student organization doing to transition to virtual meetings and projects? Let us know how it is going by contacting us at

Published: April 14th, 2020

Category: Highlights