ELIXIR online events guidelines

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
  • Four to 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
  • Send a reminder of the meeting 24 hours before the meeting, or if a half-day event, then 2 hours before the meeting.
  • Housekeeping slides and various templates 

After the meeting

  • Coordinate the downloading of the attendee list and archive it to ensure attention to Event's privacy statment
  • Send out a feedback survey (see below)
  • Analyse feedback from the survey and inform the event lead and impact officer.

Registration for virtual meetings

  • The Hub uses an Eventscase account for the majority of meeting registrations for following reasons:
    • For privacy policy purposes, ELIXIR have deemed that the Hub cannot collect and store registration data on a Google Drive
    • Eventscase offers a single point to collect all participants for one event for record keeping
    • It allows ELIXIR to collect information about an event in a standard way
    • It captures consent for questions e.g. if it is okay to share the participants' list
    • It allows delivering information about the event and works as an event webpage with all relevant information for the event in one place e.g.:
      • Standard text about the software platform used for the particular meeting and privacy policy
      • ELIXIR Code of Conduct
    • That said, Nodes should take into consideration local privacy recommendations and policies before also using a registration system.
  • Registration deadline should be a week to a minimum two days prior to the meeting, depending on the size of the event.
  • Webinar platform: the Hub recommends using Zoom webinar (Full details for organising a webinar here)

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 Hub events team) to identify these individuals
  • If using Zoom, the Hub best practices in running Zoom meetings are recommended.
  • Consider whether a rehearsal 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 but should be tested beforehand to confirm connections and access. 
  • Adapt Housekeeping 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 a digital clock or their mobile phone with a timer in front of the screen so it’s clearly visible when giving the talk
    • to provide written consent to record the talks and make publicly available, if applicable.

Final email communication to participants

  • Send the final email via Eventscase four working days prior the meeting at the latest, with the following information:
    • Links to connect to the meeting
    • Outline of/link to the agenda
    • 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)
    • Link to event privacy statement (from June 2021)
      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

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
  • Zoom has a closed caption option for creating subtitles. You can turn this on for extra clarification of speech.

Actions and best practices for chair

  • Keep to your time.
  • When talking try to pause more frequently and speak more slowly 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.

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.

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.

Managing attendance 

Options to consider: 

  • Set up a password (edit the default eg: ELIXIR meeting) 
  • Circulate the short URL and password separately (long URL contains password information) 
  • If the joining details have been circulated too widely change the password
  • Allow "Join ahead of Host" setting carefully
  • Use waiting list (The Host controls who joins.Needs setting up in advance)
  • Registration (Eventbrite or Zoom, circulate joining details only to list.)

If an unwelcome attendee joins the call the Host can:

  • Ask them to confirm their identity (chat)
  • Mute and prevent "un-mute" (Security settings)
  • Move to the Waiting Room
  • Remove from the call (default setting = not able to rejoin)
  • Report to Zoom

3. Follow up after the event

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 data
    • Be mindful of the frequency of the surveys and reminders, and remember that there is overlap of your participants in different meetings.

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 privacy policy best practices.

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 address, make sure it is compulsory information we collect from participants
    Detailed guideline information is on the Zoom website.
  • Zoom Webinar - records the attendee list and the email if they have registered directly. This is available after the call has closed via to “Reports”, download as .csv
  • 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.

4. Possible software platforms to use


Capacity: 2 - 300 (Add-ons available for 500 or 1,000, webinars)
Password protection: Available, also a Waiting Room
Breakout rooms: Up to 50 rooms. Available on all Zoom accounts.

Breakout rooms
Attendance records
Polls (limited)


Capacity: 150 / 250 - depending on type of account
Password: Available
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.

Slack Calls

Up to 15 people, simple to use, camera, share screen etc

Other options

Additional apps for calls

Sli.do (hub account)

  • Good for polls, individual chats, questions.
  • Results can be displayed during the sessions.

Mentimeter (hub account)

  • 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.

Remo (former hub account, can be recovered if required) 

  • Remo allows for greater interaction between attendees as well as presentions. The aim being to replicate some of the benefits of an inperson meeting. It has a nice, customisable interface but most of the functionality is available in Zoom.