top of page

Virtual Meetings Guide

Recent events have required us to explore new ways of modern communication due to the COVID-19 virus.  In our current world, we have the opportunity to converse with people virtually or through computer/internet technology.  The Dallas Sunrise Toastmasters club has taken this challenge and created a How-To-Guide to facilitate our meetings online.  We are currently using a Videoconferencing platform called ZOOM and the guide below is based on this software.

What is Zoom Meetings?

Zoom Meetings is software-based video conferencing & web conferencing – enabling virtual meetings to take place all over the world

How-To Join a Zoom Meeting?

You can join a Zoom Meeting with your computer, smartphone, or tablet by clicking on the Zoom Meeting link sent to you by the person hosting the meeting.  ZOOM is flexible and you can join via your computer, phone, or tablet using the ZOOM App.  You can also join the meeting via a computer browser like Microsoft Internet Explorer or Google Chrome without the App.  In addition, you can join the meeting on you phone without an App (audio only).


To get the ZOOM App, go to the applicable links below to download and install it prior to your meeting.  Once it is loaded you will be able to join the meeting with audio and video.

AUDIO ONLY (Or, if you do not have a microphone on your computer)

You can also join a meeting using your phone without the Apps.  In this case, you will be able to hear and talk to everyone, but will NOT be able to see anyone.  To join a meeting in this fashion, call the phone number in the host's email and enter the Meeting ID provided.


We will do our best to keep the Meeting Details (link & phone number) the same every week for Sunrise Meetings 

Still unsure? Click the image below and watch a quick online tutorial.

Zoom Menu Bar

Gallery View vs Speaker View

Toggle back and forth between the views by clicking in the top right corner (Speaker/Gallery buttons)

Gallery View
  • Allows you to see a grid of everyone on the call

  • There will be a yellow border around the person who is talking

Speaker View
  • Speaker will be featured in a large screen, with
    other attendees across the top of the screen

Participant/Chat Box

List of Participants

Displays a list of

participants in the call

Chat Box

Chat with participants during the call. (Note: it’s recommended you
keep the chat box open the
duration of the call)

You can send messages to ‘Everyone’ (the default), or privately to one person. If sending a private message, choose their name from the drop-down menu.

Meeting Roles...with a Virtual Twist

Ah Counter

The job of the Ah Counter is to watch for, note and “ding” the use of extraneous words and/or sounds used as a “crutch” or “pause filler” during the meeting. This includes “ah”, “um” or er ”, and inappropriate interjections of words like “well”, “you know”, “so” or “and.” Also, note and “ding” “doubled clutches” like “I…I” or “the…the”. Long pauses may also be noted and "dinged”, but be certain that the speaker is not just pausing for effect or to let the audience assimilate a point.

  • Prior to the meeting, check with new members who are working on their first five speeches: at their option, they may elect not to be “dinged” during the speech. If they do not elect, they will be “dinged.” The bell is a very useful tool and should not be withheld unless requested.

  • During the meeting, note all anomalies of speech for the final report, and “ding” the offender on a timely basis.

  • Dinging in a virtual meeting Use a bell or something else at home to create a soft ‘ding’

  • Additional Options: flash a card via video screen, or display a ‘reaction’ emoji or send an emoji via the chat bar (such as a bell emoji!)


  • At the conclusion of the meeting, report, by member, all transgressions.



The responsibilities of the grammarian are 1) to introduce new words to members, and 2) to comment on the use of language (vocabulary and grammar) during the meeting.

  • Prior to the meeting, select a “Word of the Day” and prepare a visual aid that members may see during the meeting to encourage the use of the Word of the Day.


  • Check with the Toastmaster to determine the theme for the upcoming meeting consider tailoring the Word of the Day to the theme of the meeting.



  • Place the visual aid where it may be seen from the lectern


  • Display WOD in a virtual meeting: Show a sign with WOD in the video, Send the WOD in the chat box



  • At the beginning of the meeting, announce the Word of the Day and explain it clearly. Be sure to use it in a sentence. Try to select words that will prove useful in daily communications. Toastmasters suggest using adjectives or adverbs but any useful and appropriate word will suffice.

  • Encourage all members to use the Word of the Day.


  • Throughout the meeting, listen for incorrect or poor grammar and language usage, for excellent and interesting grammar and language usage and for the Word of the Day.


  • At the end of the meeting, report on both the good and the bad, and cite those who have used the Word of the Day correctly.


Speeches have a minimum and a maximum time which are two minutes apart. Show the green card at the minimum time, the yellow card one minute later and the red card at the maximum time. A speaker qualifies 30 seconds before the minimum time and is disqualified 30 seconds after the time and subject to clap down.

Table Topics run from one to two minutes. Show the green card at one minute, the yellow card 30 seconds later and the red card at two minutes. A Table Topics speaker qualifies 15 seconds before the minimum time and is disqualified 15 seconds after the maximum time and subject to clap down.

Evaluators have from two to three minutes. Show the green card at two minutes, the yellow card 30 seconds later and the red card at three minutes. A Table Topics speaker qualifies 30 seconds before the minimum time and is disqualified 30 seconds after the maximum time and subject to clap down.

  • Get cards from the meeting box at the back of the room

  • Display time alerts Display colored paper via video “GREEN” / “YELLOW” / “RED”


  • Alternate options: Send alerts in chat window (green/yellow/red); Text speaker alerts (green/yellow/red); use a timer app on your phone & hold up the phone to the video screen to display colored screens.

  • Make sure you sit where you can be seen by the speakers.


  • Continue showing the card until it is time for the next one it is the responsibility of the timer to ensure that the speakers see the cards!

Vote Counter

The job of the Vote Counter is to tally the votes for the categories of:

  • Best Speaker

  • Best Table of Topics Respondent

  • Best Evaluator

The vote counter does not vote except to break a tie.
When called upon by the Toastmaster, the Vote Counter will announce the winners in each category.

  • Collecting Votes in Virtual Meeting: Send votes to Vote Counter via Chat Bar

  • Alternate option: If participants have joined via audio-only, they can text their vote to vote counter

Overall Vitual Meeting Tips

Keep in mind we’re all new to operating our Sunrise meetings virtually, please offer grace to everyone on the web conference, especially those still learning how to use the platform.

Have Fun! Laugh at mistakes, skip over interruptions, and shrug off tech issues these are bound to happen.

Since Zoom allows ‘Share Your Screen’ capability, consider this new format the perfect opportunity to deliver speeches with presentation elements

For example, share you screen to show the group: powerpoint presentations, videos, etc.

Toastmaster Tip: carve out time throughout the meeting to encourage participants to send notes to each other via the Chat box (just as we would during physical meetings)

Stay as close as you can to your WiFi router for the best possible connection

If the ‘Reactions’ option is missing from your Menu bar, you may need to install
the latest version of Zoom, try upgrading and it should appear


My browser version too slow
My audio is not working


  • If your Headphone/Microphone is not working, check to make sure your audio is set to the correct device, i.e. your headset or computer. This is typically found in your device settings under audio and/or camera.

I’m experiencing an echo
  • Echo can be caused by many things, such as a participant connected to the meeting audio on multiple devices or two participants joined in from the same local. Learn more here.


Host setup suggestions

  • Under “My Account>Settings” you can set up general rules for each o your meetings.  Most of the settings are great the way they are, however here is a list of items that may prove helpful during a meeting.

  • Turn on “join before host”.  This allows others to join the meeting before you get there.

  • “Polling” may be turned on here, if you need feedback during the meeting.

  • Turn on IM Groups under IM Settings.  This allows you to group people into designated gatherings, therefore they cannot seem all of your Zoom contacts.

bottom of page