How to Host Meetings Online

Looking to move your AA meeting online? Many of us are using Zoom (or equivalent hosting services) to keep our fellowship going, while keeping our communities safer by maintaining physical distance. There are many options, but here are some tips and tricks we have found to help meetings run smoothly. 

Tips for hosting a Zoom Meeting

If you set up the meeting, choosing these settings is helpful: allow participants to join before host, mute participants automatically when they join the call and set the meeting to not record.

Etiquette

Start the meeting with an etiquette reminder. Such as: “Welcome to our Zoom AA meeting. We are all learning this new system together.  Remember to please mute yourself when you are not talking. Also try not to do other things during the meeting, or be on your phone.  Just like in a standard AA meeting this can be distracting.  If you need to be moving around, you can turn off your video.”

If people are not muting themselves or join late, the chair can message them directly through the chat to remind them. Also, have the chair let people know when they should unmute (are people unmuting for the birthday song, or after every share). 

Share your phone list

You can post a link to a google doc of the phone list, or each member can add their number in the chat if they want to.  Adding extra ways to stay in contact, while having to have physical distance may help folks who are newer.

Format of your meeting

If you call on people: In the attendees window there is the option to raise your hand. If this is a format you use in person, this function can serve the same function virtually. The chair can then call on people who have raised their hand. 

If you use a lottery:  This can be hard to adapt.  Zoom will tell you the number of participants in your meeting.  Your chair can use a random number generator, such as (https://www.random.org/).  But they will still need to count down the list of participants in the participant list, since zoom does not automatically number participants. 

Readings

7th Tradition

AA still has expenses, so for 7th tradition you can assign someone be delegated as the receiver account for venmo or PayPal etc. If your meeting does not already have this, delegate someone’s personal account (perhaps your treasurer).  Remind participants to set their Venmo donations to private.  You can also have them comment 7 or pink to allocate to the group or corrections, if that is something your group does.

Applause

Unmuting can be difficult and intrusive, if people are doing so after every share.  Instead, consider encourage people to use the reactions in the chat, or sign language or recognizable body language (thumbs up, clapping while on mute) via their video.

Remember, not everyone is familiar with this technology, so let’s all have patience and encourage folks to have patience through this. And thanks for all your work to move meetings remotely!

Looking to set a virtual meeting up?

Zoom meetings are a functional solution for many of us, though you may find a better platform for your needs.  Your group or local intergroup can get a month to month pro membership, then set up meetings at their meeting time. 

With a pro membership, Recurring Zoom Meetings or Personal Meeting rooms can be used to host meetings.  As long as you allow joining before hosts, and only schedule one meeting at a time, these options can both be used interchangeably as equivalents to rooms in a building.  People can call into them any time, as long as they have the link or the phone number and meeting number.

Google calendars can be used to split up meeting times for use of the zoom room, if many meetings want to share one Zoom Pro Account.

If your meeting does not have resources or know-how to set up meetings you can schedule meetings through Salt Lake Central Office (https://www.saltlakeaa.org/online-meetings/), and many intergroup and districts are adding their own as time progresses.

If you are temporarily canceling or moving your meeting online, and are served by Salt Lake Central Office, please also fill out a meeting change request form (https://www.saltlakeaa.org/meeting-changes/).  Provide us your zoom link too, so we can let people know where you are at.