How to Build Trust with Online Public Meetings

Taking public meetings online introduces new challenges.

It is a whole new world from technology, procedures, accessibility, and public feedback.

Remote workers and the time and financial savings, virtual meetings are here to stay. Leaders are stepping up to the challenge, adapting, and ensuring they maximize the trend.

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Lack of trust costs $78 billion

A 78 Billion Dollar Mistake

Common Virtual Meeting Complications

Being online is more than going live with a camera and microphone. You have lights and sound quality to worry about.

Complying with public meeting statuses and regulations adds an additional burden that corporate executives don’t have to worry about.

Most assume that everyone can join the meeting online. That is not true. Over 17% of Americans don’t have broadband access.

How do you manage public feedback with disruptive mute mania? This makes receiving, answering, and allowing public comment and queries a considerable challenge.

Cities and counties have jumped in with both feet and hoping to learn quickly.

Virtual meetings have shown that through technology we can eliminate time and distance barriers…such benefits as strengthened citizen trust...virtual meetings...transition from a stopgap measure to a permanent fixture. (1)

Online Stopgap Measures Will Soon be a Permanent Fixture for City and County Meetings

The goal of every civic leader is to conduct a productive
meeting that gathers valuable feedback and gives members the confidence that
their voices were heard.

Online there are more variables to control than a traditional meeting in the chamber. With some basic tips productivity can be accomplished. 

Top Online Event Challenges for Civic Meetings

Top Challenges Government Employees Face when Facilitating Online Events

9 Steps to Successful Virtual Civic Meetings

  1. Set Expectations: Prepare a value-added agenda. Explain what the invitee will gain when they attend your meeting to build their trust. NOTE: Make sure you understand your audience’s challenges in joining the meeting. CLICK HERE to request the Online Audience Builder guide (on the right).
  2. Start by Connecting: Ask everyone if they can hear and see you okay by letting you know in the comments. Show you are concerned about the quality of their experience.
  3. Front Load with Preliminaries: Start on time. Start with preliminaries to give everyone time to get connected. Starting on time builds respect with those who show up on time.
  4. Introduce Leaders: Don’t assume everyone knows and sees what leaders are in the meeting. Making sure everyone knows the leaders, builds transparency. 
  5. Don’t Hide Behind Slides: Show your face. Minimize the slides. If your system allows a video overlay in the corner, use it. Let people connect to you, the human.
  6. Wrap Up the Meeting with Resources: Announce in the beginning that you have resources which will be available at the end of the meeting. This will encourage them to stay for the entire meeting. Providing concrete resources and channels shows you trust the audience and their valuable input to the process.
  7. Know the Technology: Make sure you have good sound and lighting. Clarity builds openness.
  8. Make the Meeting Accessible: PhoneLiveStreaming has expanded Mendocino County Board of Supervisors’ ability to be transparent by providing a real-time telephonic meeting streaming option to our rural residents.” — Lindsey Daugherty, Senior Deputy Clerk of the Board, County of Mendocino (California)
  9. Accept Feedback: Encourage the audience to take your survey, and they will tell you how you can improve your online meetings. Let your audience know that this is their meeting and that your goal is to serve them.
 

Invest time and trial and these nine steps will give you a start toward better meetings that build a stronger trust factor. Do be flexible and adapt to what works best for you and your team.

Understanding the dynamics of the various online audiences gives you a deeper reach into your community and brings more members on board with your latest agenda.

CLICK HERE to Sign up and download the Online Audience Builder to improve the productivity of your online meetings (on the right).

Online Audience Builder

Online Audience Builder

9 Steps to Successful Virtual Civic Meetings

  1. Set Expectations: Prepare a value-added agenda. Explain what the invitee will gain when they attend your meeting to build their trust. NOTE: Make sure you understand your audience’s challenges in joining the meeting. CLICK HERE to request the Online Audience Builder guide (on the right).
  2. Start by Connecting: Ask everyone if they can hear and see you okay by letting you know in the comments. Show you are concerned about the quality of their experience.
  3. Front Load with Preliminaries: Start on time. Start with preliminaries to give everyone time to get connected. Starting on time builds respect with those who show up on time.
  4. Introduce Leaders: Don’t assume everyone knows and sees what leaders are in the meeting. Making sure everyone knows the leaders, builds transparency. 
  5. Don’t Hide Behind Slides: Show your face. Minimize the slides. If your system allows a video overlay in the corner, use it. Let people connect to you, the human.
  6. Wrap Up the Meeting with Resources: Announce in the beginning that you have resources which will be available at the end of the meeting. This will encourage them to stay for the entire meeting. Providing concrete resources and channels shows you trust the audience and their valuable input to the process.
  7. Know the Technology: Make sure you have good sound and lighting. Clarity builds openness.
  8. Make the Meeting Accessible: PhoneLiveStreaming has expanded Mendocino County Board of Supervisors’ ability to be transparent by providing a real-time telephonic meeting streaming option to our rural residents.” — Lindsey Daugherty, Senior Deputy Clerk of the Board, County of Mendocino (California)
  9. Accept Feedback: Encourage the audience to take your survey, and they will tell you how you can improve your online meetings. Let your audience know that this is their meeting and that your goal is to serve them.


Invest inn time and trial and these nine steps will give you a start toward better meetings that build a stronger trust factor. Do be flexible and adapt to what works best for you and your team.


Understanding the dynamics of the various online audiences gives you a deeper reach into your community and brings more members on board with your latest agenda.

Online Audience Builder

Online Audience Builder
NOTES:

1. What the Rise of Virtual Meetings has Taught Us About Civic Participation,  By Megan Asikainen, Solutions Manager, CivicClerk, https://www.route-fifty.com/tech-data/2021/04/virtual-meetings-taught-about-civic-participation/173658/, Accessed 1/19/2022
2. A Long Term Strategy For Virtual Meetings, by Adobe, downloaded 1/19/2022

March 16th ...

New research showing 50% of Americans can't watch videos online discussed.

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“PhoneLiveStreaming has expanded Mendocino County Board of Supervisors' ability to be transparent by providing a real-time telephonic meeting streaming option to our rural residents.”

— Lindsey Daugherty, Senior Deputy Clerk of the Board, County of Mendocino (California)