Virtual Meetings

Introduction

Virtual meetings can be a really useful tool to bring people together across multiple locations. We've compiled advice for staff, managers and leaders to understand how to set up, manage, and get the best out of virtual meetings.

Tips for Virtual Meetings

Please see the help video on this page to pick up some useful tips on how to run and attend successful and useful virtual meetings.

Getting started

Start a meeting

You can use Google Meet to either instantly create a virtual meeting, or to schedule a meeting through Google Calendar depending on your need.

Schedule a meeting

If you are scheduling a meeting a Google Meet will be automatically added to any Google Calendar event you create, inviting all your attendees to your virtual meeting.

Start an ad hoc meeting

You can also start an ad-hoc meeting, directly through Google Meet:

  1. Open Google Meet from the MUSE My Services bar.
  2. As Google Meet opens, click Join or Start A Meeting.
  3. Type in your meeting name and click Continue.
  4. Once the video meeting interface opens, click Join now.
  5. In the pop-up add the people you want to invite to your meeting and click Send invitation.
  6. Wait while your invitees join you.

Privacy: 

Please ensure you are comfortable with the background view those attending virtual meetings will have of your surroundings, e.g pictures, books, or items that might release personal or confidential information you would not want to share. Please ensure all attendees of Google Meet sessions have been legitimately invited and that data being shared in meetings is appropriate and not excessive.

Top tip: If it is your first time setting up a virtual meeting you may want to do a dry run with a friendly colleague to check everything works as you expect.


Join a meeting

You can join Google Meet video meetings either from a Google Calendar event, or directly through Google Meet on your computer, phone or tablet.

Join from a calendar event:

  1. In your Calendar, click the event you want to join.
  2. Click Join Google Meet. In the window that opens, click Join Now

Join from an invite:

  1. Open your email invite and click Join meeting.
  2. In the Google Meet window click Join now.

Note: only join a meeting if you know what the meeting is / who it’s from.

Join from Google Meet:

Google Meet shows you a schedule of all virtual meetings you have coming up that day. To join one, simply click the meeting you want to join and click Join now.

Top Tips:

  • To join meetings from a phone or tablet you will need the official Google Meet and Calendar apps.
  • If you invite someone outside the university to a Meet, they can still join the meeting by clicking on the link in the invitation, but someone with a University of Sheffield account will need to allow them into the meeting.

Basic controls

Audio and Video

You can easily control whether people can see and hear you by turning your camera and microphone on or off.

Audio

You can mute your microphone by clicking the microphone icon on the meeting screen. Once muted the microphone icon will turn red. To unmute, click the microphone icon again.

If you’re using headphones or a headset then you may need to click on the Cog and change which device to use for sound.

Top Tip: if you are somewhere with a lot of background noise or interference, mute your microphone when you are not speaking.

Video

You can turn your camera on and off by clicking the video camera icon. When turned off, the video camera icon will turn red, and your video will be replaced by your google avatar, or initials.
To turn your camera back on click the video camera icon.

Top Tip: If you haven't got a webcam you could use your mobile phone to take part in a video call/conference via the Google meet app. The Google meet app is available to download from your phones app store.

Screen layout

Google Meet automatically shows the most active participants in a meeting. You can change the page setup on Google Meet by clicking the 3 circles on the bottom right hand side of the page (on the pop-up bar). You can then choose from the following layouts:

  • Auto - shows the most active participants.
  • Tiled - shows up to 16 video feeds in equal size.
  • Spotlight - the presentation, active speaker, or pinned feed fills the window.
  • Sidebar - shows the person currently speaking in the main window, with other attendees on the right-hand side.

Collaborating

Advice to improve collaboration in virtual meetings

1. Use attachments

Attaching any relevant documents to a scheduled meeting in Google Calendar means that your attendees will be able to see and access them from the bottom left corner of the virtual meeting screen.

Top Tip: Have a shared Google Doc for meetings so people can follow along with the conversation and keep track of what’s been agreed/asked.


2. Use video

All participants sharing their video and audio is great for collaboration as it will help members to stay engaged and to know when people want to speak or have finished speaking.


3. Share your screen or present during a video meeting

You can share your entire screen or a specific window in a meeting to deliver presentations, or share documents, web pages and other useful content.

Presenting 

  1. Join a video meeting.
  2. In the bottom-right corner, select Present now.
  3. Choose either Your entire screen or A window.​​
  4. Select Share.
  5. To stop presenting, click Stop Presenting in the meeting window.

Presenting Using Chrome 

The Chrome browser has an additional feature, used to present higher quality video.

  1. First, open a new tab and display your video.
  2. Return to the meeting screen, and in the bottom-right corner select Present now.
  3. Choose A Chrome tab​​.
  4. Select the tab you want to display, and click on Share.
  5. To stop presenting, click Stop Presenting in the meeting window.

Top Tip: When you start sharing your screen, allow notifications so that you know when your screen is visible.


4. Use other apps

Using collaborative apps alongside your virtual meeting can really bring collaborative focus, particularly when working on specific ideas. Some apps worth trying include:

  • Google Docs
  • Google Drawing
  • Google Jamboard

These can be created and shared from your Google Drive.

Managing your meeting

Advice to help you manage meetings

Planning your meeting

  1. Plan your virtual meetings just like you would any other meeting.
  2. Provide an agenda to participants — ahead of the meeting is nice, but minimally at the start of the meeting — that includes an overview of topics to be covered and planned outcome.
  3. Make sure everyone has access to any documents or content, by sharing all content within the video conferencing connection and using online tools (e.g., Google docs) whenever possible.

During the meeting

  1. Have a shared Google Doc for meetings so people can follow along with the conversation and keep track of what’s been agreed/asked.
  2. Have all participants share their video and audio as this will help members to stay engaged and to know when people want to speak or have finished speaking.
  3. Ensure all participants can see and hear all other participants, as appropriate.
  4. Have a meeting chair or facilitator— often, but not always, the person who called the meeting.
  5. The chair is responsible for:
    • ensuring all participants get a chance to speak and contribute;
    • establishing the visual or verbal cues, such as raising a hand, to indicate when someone wants to actively contribute verbally to the meeting;
    • engaging participants at all locations to ensure discussion understanding, and alignment;
    • Minimise attendees talking over each other;
    • limiting “side conversations” and multi-tasking or ensure all participants are made aware of that content;
  6. Ensure location lighting does not limit a participant’s visibility (for example, avoid backlighting from windows or lamps).
  7. Have participants mute their microphones if their location has excessive background noise or they will not be speaking.

Top Tip: If you've never used the solution before or want to check everything works ok then we recommend having a practice with a colleague you trust.

Record your meeting

Recording and sharing meetings

Google have enabled meeting recording and sharing for the University until 30 September, 2020, to support us in working remotely in response to COVID-19,

Record a meeting

Recording is only available with the computer version of Meet. Mobile app users get notified when the recording starts or stops, but cannot control recording.You can’t record if you join only to present, such as from a laptop while already in a video conference room.

Before you start recording:

  1. Ensure all attendees are aware of the session recording, and the justification for recording the session.
  2. Ensure it's appropriate storage (Google Drive or Uni Storage with least privilege).
  3. Ensure any recordings are only shared with the consent of all attendees and stakeholders (i.e. Third Parties).

Start recording:

  1. Join the video meeting first, start presenting, and then record.
  2. Open Meet and start or join a meeting.
  3. Click More and then Record meeting.
  4. Wait for the recording to start.
  5. Other participants are notified when the recording starts or stops.

Finish recording:

  1. Click More and then Stop recording when you finish.
  2. The recording also stops when everyone leaves the meeting.
  3. Click Stop recording again to verify.
  4. Wait for the recording file to be generated - this can take a few minutes.
  5. Once generated the recording file will be saved to the organiser’s My Drive > Meet Recordings folder.
  6. You will get an email with the recording link when your recording is ready - this email is sent to both the meeting organiser and the person who started the recording.

View and share your recording

When your recording has been generated and added to your Google Drive, you can view and share it from within Drive as any other file. You can also download your mp4 video file to your computer if you want to edit or add production to the video.