1. Preparations before the event
Before the meeting
- Promote the meeting the same way as you would promote a F2F meeting following the branding guidelines.
- Social media (Twitter/LinkedIn)
- Highlight in ELIXIR Weekly Brief
- Emails to Platforms and Communities
- Industry Newsletter (applicable if your event is relevant to industry)
- As the organiser, send reminders to prompt participants to register.
- Two working days prior to the meeting, send an email to participants with meeting logistics and any other relevant information. This needs to be coordinated with the organiser and events team.
- Reminder of the meeting on the day before the meeting, or if a half-day event, then 1-2 hours before the meeting.
After the meeting
- Coordinate the downloading of the attendee list and archive it to ensure attention to local GDPR guidelines and policies.
- Send out a feedback survey (see below).
- Analyse feedback from the survey and inform the event lead and impact officer.
1.2 Registration for virtual meetings
- The Hub uses an Eventbrite account for the majority of meeting registrations for following reasons:
- For GDPR purposes, we have deemed that the Hub cannot collect and store registration data on a Google Drive.
- Offers a single point to collect all participants for one event for record keeping.
- Allows us to collect information about an event in a standard way.
- Captures consent for questions e.g. if it is okay to share the participants' list.
- Allows delivering information about the event and works as an event webpage with all relevant information for the event in one place e.g.:
- ELIXIR Code of Conduct
- That said, Nodes should take into consideration local GDPR recommendations and policies before also using Eventbrite.
- Registration deadline should be a week or a minimum two days prior to the meeting, depending on the size of the event.
- For events that are a single one-off webinar the Hub frequently uses GoTo webinar In this case, registration is needed via Go-To webinar to provide access to the event, in which case the following information should be captured in the registration:
- Gender data with same question setup as in Eventbrite
- If relevant, ask for consent to share participants' list (e.g. for EBIF type event)
- Note: registrations from GoTo webinar need to be treated in the same manner as registrations from Eventbrite (GDPR compliance)
1.3 Preparations to host the meeting
- It is recommended that at least two individuals from your team join the call as hosts/organiser. This should ensure that even if there were interruptions of the connection, the meeting will remain open. It is the responsibility of the meeting organiser (not the events team) to identify these individuals.
- If using Zoom, the Hub best practices in running Zoom meetings are recommended. Details are in this Google Doc.
- Consider if a testing session is needed before the meeting. Unless you know all speakers are fully confident with the software that is going to be used, a testing session is recommended.
- Consider if you need to use additional applications for chat, polls, other interactions (e.g. Slack, sli.do, Mentimeter).
- Consider how you will run the slides e.g. if one person advances slides to all speakers (recommended), or if the speaker will share their screen.
- Note the option to pass remote control to the presenter, which has worked well.
- Adapt ELIXIR’s standard slide for the start of the meeting, with guidelines for participation in a virtual meeting.
- Agree and plan with the chair
- how to achieve the objectives of the meeting
- the length of the talks
- how many questions will be taken/ how long each session is going to run (e.g. how to select/prioritise questions that are in the chat window, or using a different platform to capture questions)
- ask the chair to keep to their time.
- Ask speakers
- to provide the slides one day before the meeting
- to keep to their time (make sure to define the length of their presentation), suggest that they to put their cell phone with a timer in front of the screen so it’s clearly visible when giving the talk
- for a consent to record the talks and make publicly available, if applicable.
1.4 Final email communication to participants
- Send the final email via Eventbrite four working days prior the meeting at the latest, with the following information:
- Links to connect to the meeting.
- Information how the meeting will be organised (muting, questions etc., password if needed).
- Who to contact in case of a problem or the need to cancel participation.
- Code of Conduct (from 8 June 2020 applicable to all ELIXIR events).
- Any specific guidelines e.g. the webinar guidelines.
- Consider setting an automatic reminder via the calling platform to inform participants one or two hours prior to the meeting or for a full day meeting, 24 hours before the meeting.
2. Practicalities during the event
2.1 Actions and best practices as the organiser of a virtual event
- Open the call at least 30 minutes prior to the meeting start.
- Test that your microphone (and headphones if using) are working correctly before joining the call, or in the pre-meeting period.
- Wearing headphones and mic is much preferred, to avoid hearing typing sounds over an open microphone.
- In the beginning of the meeting, present the slide with information about the practicalities of the call (see the template).
- Use the “mute all” function as a general practice in large groups.
- Turn off your own camera, or minimise the window, if calls start lagging (ensuring that you can hear is more useful than being able to see everyone).
- Resist the urge to make ad-hoc comments as the delay to sound causes confusion and breaks the conversation flow.
2.2 Actions and best practices for chair
- Keep the time.
- When talking try to pause more frequently than you would if the meeting was face-to-face; this allows for lag and enables people to make points when required.
- Ensure that participants have equal opportunities to e.g. ask questions, keeping diversity in mind.
2.3 Actions and best practices for the speaker
- Keep the time allocated to your presentation.
- Keep your camera on when talking, many people follow your mouth while listening to you as it may be easier to understand.
- When talking/presenting, try to pause more frequently than you would if the meeting was face-to-face. This allows for lag and enables people to make points when required.
2.4 Good practices for participants
- Stay muted unless you are presenting or asking questions.
- Login at least five minutes before the start time so you are ready when the meeting starts.
- Test that your mic (and headphones) are working correctly before joining the call, or in the pre-meeting period mentioned above.
- If you have something to add:
- With video: raise your hand and wait for the chair to address you
- Without video: type something in chat and it will be brought to the attention of the chair.
3. Follow up after the event
3.1 Feedback Survey
- Surveys are very important to capture information relating to the logistics, quality (performance) and effect (impact) of the event. A survey will be sent after virtual events to capture this information.
- Survey Monkey is recommended.
- The set of general questions is available in this Google Doc.
- To allow for comparison of data between events, the set of general questions must be used for all events.
- The survey should be sent immediately after the meeting finishes and followed by one reminder in two or three days (to achieve a minimum 30% response rate).
- For a longer meeting, we recommend the survey is sent out during the last coffee break.
- We do not recommend using the survey functionality within the video conferencing platforms because there is a risk of not reaching all participants. The functionality is limited compared to Survey Monkey and there is no possibility of downloading the analysis.
- Be mindful of the frequency of the surveys and reminders, and remember that there is overlap of your participants in different meetings.
- The set of general questions is available in this Google Doc.
3.2 Attendance sheet for record and sharing
- Each online event should have the record of real attendance: the attendance sheet will be archived as evidence for possible audit, or if required to issue a certificate of attendance.
- Download, format and archive the participant list for your record and also for sharing purposes if it is needed, keeping inline with GDPR best practices.
3.2.1 How to capture actual attendance in the following software platforms
- Zoom - keeps a record of the attendee list (name, email). This is available after the call has closed for 30 days only. Go to “Reports - Usage reports - Usage”, then select the “Period”, click on the meeting and the left side in the column “Participants” will display the list which you can “Export to csv” (tick the unique users).
Note: if you want to capture email, make sure it is compulsory information we collect from participants.
Detailed guideline information is on the Zoom website.
- GoToMeeting - This is available after the call has closed. Go to “History”, click on your event and on the right side you see the “Attendee” list. Copy the data to a Google spreadsheet and format it.
- GoToWebinar - records the attendee list and the email if they have registered directly. This is available after the call has closed. Go to “Analytics”, click on your meeting and in the bottom part you will see “Registrants” and “Attendees”. Copy data to a Google spreadsheet and format it.
4. Possible software platforms to use
- Public information for participants using Zoom, available on ELIXIR website.
- Comparison of video conferencing software platforms (external link).
|Capacity:||2 - 100 (Add-ons available for 500 or 1,000)|
|Password protection:||Available, also a Waiting Room|
|Breakout rooms:||Up to 50 rooms. Available on all Zoom accounts.|
|Functionality:||Participants can join ahead of host (If set, definitive advantage) |
|Capacity:||150 / 250 - depending on type of account|
|Breakout rooms:||Not a Goto feature|
|Breakout rooms:||Not a GoTo feature|
GoToTraining is an interactive online training environment with additional features not generally available on basic accounts. The ELIXIR Hub does not currently have GoToTraining accounts.
Up to 15 people, simple to use, possible to use a camera
- EBI Video Conferencing guidelines
- BlueJeans, Teams, Skype, Webex, Teams, Google Meet, Adobe Connect, Whereby, Open Source platform: https://jitsi.org/jitsi-meet/
- For big conferences (complex conference platform): https://whova.com
Additional apps for calls
- Good for polls, individual chats, questions.
- Results can be displayed during the sessions.
- To build interactive presentations in the presentation builder.
- Collect polls, data and opinions using smart device.
- Work anonymously.
- Good for all type of questions, polls.
- We used it for the F2F All Hands meeting.