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COVID-19 and No-drama Meetings

Faculty members are quickly moving classes online. But are administrators prepared to manage mission-critical meetings while practicing social distancing?

Two years ago, we launched TorchStar, a higher-education consulting firm committed to “smart frugality.” We conduct 90% of our meetings online. Here are our tips for no-drama meetings in the COVID-19 era.

Set the stage. Rehearse video conferencing tools with primary players. Establish ground rules (e.g., tell participants to mute microphone and video unless speaking, note if chat will be monitored). Check what users will see behind you. Groom for professional appearance from the waist up.

Provide a playbill. Combine materials into a single presentation document and send in advance to prepare for an action-oriented meeting. Allow 5 minutes for login and technology adjustments, then give a meeting overview and note the scheduled end time.

Manage the action. One person advances presentation slides, calls on co-presenters and participants, and manages the time. Include conversation points to keep the group engaged at least 50% of the meeting. Remind participants to activate audio and video when speaking.

Prepare for the next act. Use the last five-minutes of a meeting to wrap-up the discussion and talk about next steps. Make sure everyone understands expectations and deadlines. Schedule the next meeting and log off.

We run our business with large groups (up to 20) and large social distance – sometimes we are on different continents. But the steps above result in no-drama meetings and high-impact results. For more information contact

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