Dear Group Facilitators,

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we develop tools to deliver programs and services through the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center online, while the physical center is closed.

Below is a list of free resources to facilitate virtual group meetings.

If you choose to facilitate virtual meetings with your group, please let us know on the google form at the right so we can let potential attendees know it’s happening.

If you are not sure where to start on virtual meeting spaces, we recommend joining the center’s Discord server by making a Discord account at discordapp.com and contacting us to join the server. You should’ve also received the code to join in your email. A staff member will assign you a facilitator role specific to your group so you can invite individuals to a private voice and text chat for your group and your group only; center staff cannot see your private chat.  Staff support is available for this option.

All facilitators are invited to join the center’s discord server to join a facilitator chat to trade tips and ideas about facilitating virtual meetings.

No matter what platform you choose, please continue to fill out attendance sheets using the google doc below or printing out a physical copy of the sheet attached and sending it to the center by mail.

http://bit.ly/CenterGroupAttendance

If you are not currently a volunteer with the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center and would like to facilitate an online meeting with support and promotion from the center please reach out to programs@lgbtqcenter.org

We understand this is a lot of information and some or all of it may be new to you.

Staff are working remotely and are available by email to answer any questions you may have about facilitating a group virtually.

We will let you know when we are having meetings at the center again.

Thank you for your time and understanding as we work to keep the community connected,

Liz

Moderation Tips

Click here for a guideline to online moderation

Online Meeting Facilitation Guidelines 

 

Thank you for facilitating online meetings with the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center.  

If you are new to moderating online spaces or just looking for some tips, we hope the following guidelines help you create a warm, welcoming environment online as you would in real life.  

 

Before You Get Started 

Think about how your group operates or would operate in person. Learn the functions of the platform you are hosting your meeting on. Adjust your rules and expectations for the limitations or new opportunities presented by the platform. Staff support is available for this process and to answer any questions you may have.  

If someone enters the conversation who has not been to a meeting in person, think about how you would feel welcomed into that online space full of strangers.  

 

Group Text Based Meetings 

  • Open the meeting by posting the rules and expectations of the space. If the platform you are using allows, pin this post to the top of the conversation.  
  • Ask participants to use the names they would like to be addressed by in their usernames or nicknames that appear when they contribute text to the conversation.  

Audio Meetings 

  • Ask participants to mute their microphones or phones if they are not the ones speaking, this reduces feedback and other noises that may prevent participants from listening to the speaker. 
  • Let participants know that it is normal to accidently interrupt people in online or conference call meeting spaces, as there may be a lag in audio, and they should feel free to apologize and move on without fear of being perceived as rude.   

Audio Meetings with Group Text Conversation Options 

  • Post the rules and expectations of the space in the group text. 
  • Post information and resources the group might find helpful after the meeting. 
  • Ask participants to use the names they would like to be addressed by in their usernames or nicknames that appear when they contribute text to the conversation. 
  • Use the group text to contribute information or resources you’d like the group be aware that you think of during the meeting that you don’t want to interrupt the flow of conversation for.  

Video Meetings 

  • Ask participants to use the names they would like to be addressed by in their usernames or nicknames that appear when they enter the video meeting. 
  • Ask participants to mute their microphones if they are not the ones speaking, this reduces feedback and other noises that may prevent participants from listening to the speaker. 
  • Let participants know that it is normal to accidently interrupt people in online meeting spaces, as there may be a lag in audio or video, and they should feel free to apologize and move on without fear of being perceived as rude.   
  • Post the rules and expectations of the space in the group text. 
  • Post information and resources the group might find helpful after the meeting. 
  • Use the group text to contribute information or resources you’d like the group be aware that you think of during the meeting that you don’t want to interrupt the flow of conversation for. 

Moderation Considerations for All Meetings 

It is known that individuals behave differently online compared to behavior in person. Sometimes they feel safer to be themselves and have the freedom to explore their identities. Sometimes they feel safer to be cruel or hurtful, intentionally or unintentionally. Online spaces for marginalized people are more often targeted for harassment. You may have to kick willfully hurtful participants out of meetings, if you have that power on the platform you are using, if they are unwilling to leave. If the person is known to you outside of a virtual meeting you may have more context about their behaviors and may be able to easily deescalate inappropriate behavior that violates the terms of the space.  

 It is recommended that you start with a warning that behavior is inappropriate and violates the terms of the space, muting a participant’s microphone if the behavior persists, and finally kicking the person out of the space. 

We hope you will find new and rewarding experiences by hosting your group online. As a group facilitator you should never hesitate to contact staff at programs@lgbtqcenter.org if you have any questions about how to moderate your space to keep participants safe from harassment or negative behavior by other participants.  

Troubleshooting an online video meeting 

No matter what platform you choose for an online video meeting there are a few things that must be ready for a successful call.  

  1. Your internet or network connection 
  1. The programs connection with your device’s microphone 
  1. The programs connection with your device’s camera 
  1. Your familiarity with the program 

Point 1. If your internet or network connection is not strong enough for the meeting you would like to host, consider resetting your router.  

Points 2. and 3. Depending on the program and the device you may need to manually connect the microphone or camera. Each program typically has a settings menu, sometimes denoted by a gear symbol and sometimes found in the main menu. In the settings menu you can typically see which parts of your device the program is accessing. If the program is not accessing your camera and microphone you can typically address it here. Many programs also have help manuals or customer service on their websites.  

Point 4. If you are unfamiliar with the program. Feel free to click through the menus. You cannot break the program or your computer. Restart the program or your device if you feel lost or in the wrong place.  

Free Facilitation Resources

Click here to view a variety of resources to get you started with your own groups

Free Resources to Facilitate Your Groups:  

We understand picking the best online meeting resource for your group can be a difficult task. When weighing the value of different resources we ask you to consider the following metrics: accessibility and functionality, as they pertain specifically to your group.  

Accessibility pertains to who attends your meetings, or who you would like to attend your meetings, and which platform they can most easily utilize.  

Functionality pertains to the content and structure of your meetings and which platform best meets the goals of your meetings.  

Moderation tools; your ability to mute participants microphones, move participants out of conservations, or ban them entirely, are an aspect of functionality. All of the following resources have these tools for facilitators.  

If you facilitate more than one group you may find different resources are needed for each group.  

If there is a resource you use or know of that you would like to add to the list please contact programs@lgbtqcenter.org 

These resources are listed alphabetically with staff notes on accessibility, functionality, and getting started. Center staff are available to help you select and get started on any of the following resources at programs@lgbtqcenter.org.  

The highlighted resources are the simplest for a facilitator and group to use in terms of immediate accessibility. These tools may or may not meet your groups short term or long term functionality needs.  

 

 

Discord: https://discordapp.com/   

Summary: Discord takes a few moments for facilitators to learn, but is powerful tool. 

Accessibility: Discord requires individuals to create usernames and communicate that username to their group facilitators. Group facilitators will require a few moments to familiarize themselves with the format of discord to successfully invite individuals to meetings and moderate the space. Facilitators are welcome to use the center’s discord server to host meetings, after requesting the code from staff, eliminating a few steps from the process.  

Functionality: Discord is a one stop shop for all types of virtual meetings; supporting text, audio, and video calls. Presenters can share their screens to show powerpoint presentations or other educational materials. Movies, video games, and interactive media can be streamed into meetings. Meetings, workshops, panels, or events can be streamed from Discord onto platforms like youtube.com and twitch.tv for others to see live or later.  

Instructions: 

Facilitators 

Please contact staff at programs@lgbtqcenter.org with the subject line: hosting group on Discord 

If you are utilizing an existing server with an existing username and know how you would like to set permissions for new people entering the group please let staff know how to direct new attendees to your group.  

If you would like to use the center’s server please let staff know which group you will be facilitating and your username and four digit code so you can be granted facilitator privileges and staff can make your group a private room.  

Moderation tools: https://support.discordapp.com/hc/en-us/articles/115001987272-Verified-Server-Moderation-Guidelines 

Attendees 

 Download and install the app “Discord” to whatever device you’d like to use. You can also simply use their web page at https://discordapp.com/ 

 Make a Discord account 

 Check the event information to see what Discord Server the meeting is on. 

 The LGBTQ Center’s server uses the code QXWHUsS. Other servers will use different codes you should get from your group facilitator if the group is not using the center’s server.  

 In the center’s server comment in the “Lobby” which group you’re seeking to join. A staff member of facilitator will add you to that private group. In other servers you may be directly added to the group meeting space. Check with your group facilitator if you have questions.  

 

 

Free Conference Call: https://www.freeconferencecall.com/  

Accessibility: Free Conference Call provides two separate virtual meeting options: conference calls on the telephone and online meetings with optional screen sharing for presenters. Hosts of conference calls must make accounts, attendees do not. Hosts and attendees of online meetings must download the online meeting application. The online meeting application works optimally with the google chrome internet browser. Online meeting hosts and attendees should consider additionally downloading the google chrome internet browser to avoid additional troubleshooting steps.  

Functionality: The two services operate entirely separately on the attendees end and should be treated as such. Once the facilitator makes an account both services can be utilized. Meetings can be recorded. 

 

Facilitator Instructions for both services 

https://www.freeconferencecall.com/host-instructions 

Moderator Tools: https://www.freeconference.com/feature/moderator-controls/ 

Attendee Instructions for both services 

https://www.freeconferencecall.com/participant-instructions 

 

 

FreeConferenceCalling.com: https://www.freeconferencecalling.com/  

Accessibility: Hosts make an account. Attendees do not.  

Functionality: Conference call via the telephone. Meetings can be recordedThis platform does not have moderation tools.  

Facilitator instructions: 

https://www.freeconferencecalling.com/hosting-faq.html 

List of tools: https://www.freeconferencecalling.com/conference-definitions.html 

Attendee Instructions: 

Wait for your group facilitator to provide you with a date and time, conference dial in number, and the six digit conference code you will be prompted to enter when you call the dial in number.  

Google Hang Outs: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-hangouts/ 

Accessibility: Google Hangouts requires the use of the google chrome internet browser and a gmail account for both facilitators and participants. Once downloaded the user will be greeted with instructions.  

Functionality: Supports messaging, voice calls, and video calls with large groups. In this platform there is no distinction between facilitators and participants, negating moderation abilities.  

  

 

Skype: https://www.skype.com/en/ 

Accessibility: Skype is a Microsoft video chat and video conference product. While it is possible to create and join skype meetings without a Microsoft account, you will encounter many prompts to create a Microsoft account and some prompts to allow Microsoft products default access to your camera and microphone. While it is possible to create and join skype meetings without downloading the skype application to your computer. You will encounter prompts to do so.  

Functionality: If you choose to create a Microsoft account and download the skype application it can be used for text messaging, phone calls, and video calls with other people who download skype. Otherwise it acts as a video conference platform where a host sends an invite link to attendees.  

Instructions for Attendees and Facilitators: 

https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA11098/how-do-i-get-started-with-skype 

Moderation tools: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/skype/forum/all/skype-room-moderation-listener-role-read-only/71b71414-c3ab-425d-96e5-283809e0c790 

 

 

UberConference: www.uberconference.com  

Accessibility: Limited to 10 participants or less. Facilitators must create account. Attendees do not. No downloads required.  

Functionality: Video calls and conference calls on the telephone. Similar to free conference call these are two separate services.  

Attendee and Facilitator instructions 

https://help.uberconference.com/hc/en-us/articles/360001307986-Start-or-Join-a-Conference 

Moderator Tools: https://help.uberconference.com/hc/en-us/articles/115001552726-Mute-Participants 

 

 

Zoom: https://zoom.us/  

Accessibility: Facilitators do not need to make an account as the center has one. Attendees simply need to click on the link provided.  

Functionality: Video conferencing and screen sharing.  

Instructions 

Facilitator  

Contact programs staff at programs@lgbtqcenter.org to receive information about the center’s zoom account. 

Moderator tools: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362603-Host-and-Co-Host-Controls-in-a-Meeting 

Attendees 

Wait to receive a meeting link from the facilitator, center’s website, or center’s social media. Click on the link at the time of the meeting.

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