During the last 3 weeks, we had 2 remote meetups from our DevOps Stuttgart meetup group. I admit that this doesn’t make us experts for this format (yet), but still there were some learnings, I want to share with you.

Keep it interactive

  • use the chat (Zoom has one, YouTube has one, Google Meet has one)
  • ask questions to be answered by the audience via chat

    • start with the question where your audience comes from
    • prepare some quick polls on the topic of your presentation
  • have some “virtual social time” after the presentation

    • many people might leave the call after the presentation ends, but it’s worth having a discussion / some social time with those who stay
  • if the presenter answers a question, ask the questioner whether his question has been answered (via chat)

  • ask for feedback and improvement towards the end of your meetup

Keep it simple

  • do not use multiple chat channels within the same meetup

    • at the beginning, we had YouTube, Meet and Slack - that was to much to keep track of
    • use a single chat channel (e.g. Zoom chat or whatever is closest to your conferencing tool)

Dedicated Moderator

  • help the presenter to focus on the presentation and the talk
  • collect questions that come up on the chat

    • write them down on a document and try to cluster / order them before asking the presenter
    • use questions every now and then to make the presentation more interactive
    • answer the people asking questions that you got their question and they’ll have a chance to ask it later on
  • if your meeting is hi-jacked, remove unwanted people from the call

Avoid Zoom Bombing

  • unless you want unpleasant interruptions during your presenation, don’t publicly share your Zoom links
  • use passwords for your Zoom sessions and share them via meetup messages sent to your participants
  • as a host: start sharing your screen the moment you start the zoom call to avoid others share unwanted content
  • make at least one other participant a (co) host of the meeting, to enable others to handle “unwanted guests” and mute / unmute others

Don’t be afraid of virtual Discussions

  • at the beginning we were afraid of too many unmuted people joining the discussion

    • experience shows: there is no need to be afraid, fewer people will talk / ask questions then during usual meetups
    • embrace participation and questions from your audience

Do it - it’s a great Experience!

  • Even though we ran into some issues, the overall experience of doing remote meetups was great!
  • Don’t hesitate to bring your meetups online - there are new learning opportunities!
  • The overall perception of the audience was quite positive and we had a better now-show rate than with our last “real meetup”

Hope this helps to get you started and motivates you to start your own virtual meetups!

Please share feedback and your own lessons learned :)