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How to Successfully Conduct Remote Participation In Complex Meetings
Posted on Tuesday, April 6, 2021
How to Successfully Conduct Remote Participation In Complex Meetings
As more and more people get fully vaccinated for Covid-19, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel to party like it’s 2019 again. Since the beginning of lockdown in 2020, technology platforms have been forced to accommodate virtual meetings while coming up with creative ways to avoid “Zoom fatigue.” Local government operations have transformed the way they hold public/legislative meetings by making decisions to alter regulations around public meetings and participation. It has been a challenge to hold complex and important meetings virtually with out of the box video conferencing solutions, and local officials have minimal technology offerings that support remote voting to ensure public transparency. Even with these challenges, leaders have found creative ways to record votes and show voting results virtually with public streaming capabilities. We’ve seemed to adapt to the virtual meeting life, which begs the question, “Will virtual legislative meetings be the new norm?”
 
Many government institutions have allowed a portion of their staff to return to the office now that almost 20% of the US population has been vaccinated. Institutions have shifted their meetings to a hybrid model, which includes some members joining remotely while others are in person. Since guidelines have already been altered to accommodate virtual meetings, some participants and members will want to stay virtual permanently. In order for this to happen, government institutions need to trust an agenda management solution that can support a permanent hybrid model.
At CDS, our AgendaLink product suite offers in-meeting solutions that allow members to participate remotely while maintaining compliance in your meetings. This includes:
 
  • Public Speaker Comment Cards For Community Input - AgendaLink Solo offers web based speaker comment cards that automatically get assigned to selected topics when participants fill out the online form. If a topic is selected that is part of the consent agenda, our technology automatically changes the topic to an action item. Using our cloud-native technology, speaker comments are automatically added to the agenda until you start a meeting. Administrators no longer need to monitor their emails to constantly update speaker lists and manually record who will speak on an item. AgendaLink Solo provides the speaker list for you and lets speakers sign up on any device from any location. If your public meeting typically requires speakers to sign up in person before the meeting, CDS has technology that is compatible with BrightSign digital signage kiosks. IT teams can purchase BrightSign’s kiosks so that members can register at the sign in table. Alternatively, speakers can use QR codes similar to digital restaurant menus to sign in from their mobile devices.
  • Full Remote Voting Access - AgendaLink Solo uses web-based cloud native technology to fully support remote voting without sacrificing functionality or having to connect to the VPN network. Users will be able to experience the same interface as if they were there in person. Solo will allow you to display live voting results, follow along with agenda topics, see presentations in the platform, and much more. By the end of 2021 AgendaLink Solo plans on adding built in plug-ins for Zoom and WebEx, so your video and agenda topics are all on one screen, eliminating the need to switch browser tabs or use more than one monitor. 
  • Integrated Audio-Visual Conferencing - AgendaLink Solo is the only in-meeting agenda management solution that fully integrates with the technology in the room. Users that are in person will no longer need to turn their microphones on and off to speak. Other functionalities are available too where you can control the broadcast, cameras, switchers, and presentation all from Solo’s agenda management interface. These features make it easier than ever to control your broadcast and recorded meetings. Additionally, our Zoom and WebEx plug-ins will allow remote users to use Solo’s interface to control their laptop microphones.
  • Request to Speak Functionality - Our request to speak feature places speakers in a queue and allows the meeting manager to call on individuals, remote or in person, in the correct order. Since our Solo software connects to the AV gear and controls microphones, meeting managers can ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak when you have a hybrid meeting model.
  • Speaker Timer - Solo gives you the ability to set speaker timer limits and can connect to the technology in the room to provide chimes or signals to speakers letting them know they only have a certain amount of time left to speak. Speaker timers are fully supported with remote users too, so everyone will be aware of the time limitations, keeping your meetings punctual. This functionality ensures that you no longer have to limit the number of speakers allowed from the community or expect very long meetings. 
  • Automatically Publish Agendas - All of the voting and topic item data collected during the meeting is accumulating your agenda minutes that is ready to publish as soon as the meeting is complete. Completed meeting data is automatically transformed into a downloadable PDF in seconds, and meeting managers have the ability to edit the PDF to fit their customized templates. Automating this data ensures that administrators no longer have to copy and paste data entry back into the agenda creation software to create a published agenda. And since Solo fully supports remote voting, administrators do not have to manually record any voting data for remote users either.
 
AgendaLink provides structure to keep your meetings flowing and provides efficiencies to remove manual processes even when you have remote participants. Every participant will be able to see current agenda items, who motions on the floor, and will be able to vote electronically while still seeing live voting results. Solo has made it easy for online viewers to follow along in the meeting by connecting to the broadcast while also being able to see agenda items, speaker timers, and voting results. AgendaLink is mobile friendly, and administrators can instantaneously publish meeting minutes within seconds of a meeting being complete. CDS has made it easier than ever to host a meeting from the beach or from your meeting space, or both.
 
Hybrid meeting models are expected to be the new normal, and AgendaLink ensures that complex public and legislative meetings run smoothly and efficiently.