News and Announcements

MAsT Newsletter - Summer, 2023

Summer 2023, 19th edition of the MAsT Newsletter: "M/s Connections"


Recommendations for Running a Virtual MAsT Meeting during the COVID-19 Shelter in Place

Recommendations for Running a Virtual MAsT Meeting
Possible Providers (there are many other viable options)
• Zoom (zoom.us)
• FreeConferenceCall.com (freeconferencecall.com)
• Google Hangouts (hangouts.google.com)
• Skype (skype.com)
• Discord (discordapp.com)
• Facebook Chat (messenger.com)
Considerations when Selecting a Provider
• Supported media types (video, audio, text)
• Seek solutions with platform neutrality (not limited to Apple or Windows, iOS or Android, phone or computer)
• Seek solutions that are easy for less technical members to use as well
• Security
• Cost
• Limitations on number of participants
• Limitations on time per session
• Connection quality
• Customer/industry reviews
• Flexibility and controls (moderator, ability to mute, ability to moderate, "lobby" feature)
Advertising the Meeting
• We recommend meetings be limited to chapter members and previously vetted guests.
• We recommend meetings be considered a private call and not to be disseminated to others outside of the chapter and previously vetted guests.
• Connection information should not be posted in a public forum such as FetLife or other social media. A good idea is to provide a general announcement in a public forum such as FetLife with the note that interested attendees should contact the Chapter Director for connection details. This can help to ensure they have been vetted.
• Let members know when they can expect an email or phone call with the virtual meeting connection information.
• We strongly recommend keeping to your standard meeting day and time for the virtual meeting.
Pre-Call Preparation
• Pick topics that lend themselves to the selected medium.
• Choose the moderator(s) who will run the meeting ahead of time and ensure that they understand how to use the selected meeting platform.
• Decide on a method for members to be recognized. Examples are using a “raise hand” function within the chat tool, such as Zoom, or “stacking” by asking a question in chat and having those questions answered in order received (“stacked”).

• Consider doing a trial run of your meeting prior to the actual meeting to work through any difficulties.
Holding the Meeting
• Consider opening the meeting at 5-10 minutes early to allow for members to assemble.
• Provide ground rules to attendees at the beginning of the meeting.
• Be prepared for the possibility of an uninvited guest and how they will be dealt with. Understand that your members may be concerned about their privacy. Consider conveying this information to members so that they understand your plans before an issue occurs.
• MAsT members have an expectation privacy at meetings. Do not record the call. Make announcement that no recording of any kind is allowed.
• Be courteous.
• Understand that there may be limitations on electronic communications; it is easier to misinterpret what someone says, particularly in a text-only environment.
• Share time with others.
• Wait to be recognized by the Chapter Director or for a clear pause in the discussion before speaking. Do not talk over other participants.
• Be aware of your surroundings and background and things that may appear in your background or may be heard over audio.
• As much as possible, keep background audio and video distractions to a minimum to keep from interfering with the meeting.
• Use the mute button as needed.
After the Meeting
• Chapter leadership should review the success and/or difficulties during the meeting to assess whether the selected platform is acceptable moving forward and ways to improve the conversational flow among members.
• Asking your members to provide feedback as to how the meeting went and how the selected platform performed
• Consider taking action and implementing improvements for future meetings.