For the duration of the Covid-19 restrictions on holding in-person meetings, the Toronto Whiff meet virtually using Internet conferencing tools. Appropriately named, Whiff@Home, the meetings were conducted using Zoom™ video conferencing software.
Rather than an evening meeting time which centered around a dinner followed by a talk by an eminent speaker, the Junta decided that a post-workday, pre-dinner meeting time would be better suited for members and speakers.
The format of the in camera meetings roughly emulated our normal format with the following procedures:
- Members are requested to RSVP for the meeting and will receive connection details the day before and on the day of the meeting.
- Members are asked to join the Zoom meeting before 4:45 pm. Join earlier if you have technical issue needing addressing.
- The attendees are them randomly placed in Breakout Rooms with “table” sized groups (~9-10) for a social “cocktail” session.
- The Chair calls the meeting to order at 5:15 pm and welcomes everyone with a toast to the Whiff. If applicable, he then calls for presentation of ties to new members and introductions of guests.
- As per usual, a Whiffer will introduce our speaker who will than present for 20-30 minutes followed by a moderated Q&A session.
- Another Whiffer will thank our speaker and present a small thank you gift.
- The Chair makes any other announcements before closing the official meeting.
- Members remain online after the meeting for as long as they wish to continue chatting in an informal large group conversation.
To ensure members had the best Whiff@Home experience, we prepared a list of tips and best practices for virtual meetings. It also contained technical help setting up and using Zoom functionality during the meetings.