Professional and Career Topics

  • 1.  Best Practices for Virtual Events

    Posted 05-27-2020 04:36 PM
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    Going forward, virtual events on a company, region, or national scale will offer many ways for ASCE and the profession to have an active presents.

    Have you organized or participated in a virtual event yet?  Please share your experience.

    What are advantages and disadvantages of certain platforms?

    Please share any tips or best practices you have found effective in generating meaningful participation.



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    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI
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  • 2.  RE: Best Practices for Virtual Events

    Posted 06-04-2020 09:30 AM
    I don't participate in much besides the ASCE Collaborate moderator meetings! Our City Common Council and Committee meetings have mostly been virtual although there are some people who attend in person, following social distancing guidelines. I attended a Public Work meeting in person yesterday to provide information to the officials about some ordinances my office was involved. Half the alders on the Committee attended online. For the entire meeting there were about 30 people online including residents, city officials, etc. It is a challenge to deal with a large group and the tech staff that made it work did a tremendous job. Official public meetings like this must follow a certain order which can make it easier. I found it easier to attend in person than attend virtually.

    The problems I saw in that meeting and also in the moderator meetings is that the technology can't deal with multiple conversations like an in-person meeting does. There has to be a good organization and organizer to maintain that order so that everyone has a chance to participate. Limitations on only one person speaking at a time are important as well as being concise. Speaking delays can be a problem so a quick back and forth exchange is next to impossible. Always mute your mic when not speaking! Make sure you add your name. Calling in to a virtual meeting by phone only displays the phone number which doesn't help others know who is talking. In most cases the video doesn't add anything but it can be fun to see who you are talking to!

    The platform is also important. A platform that is easy to understand and allows links or other information to be shared is important. I consider myself tech savvy but in general am familiar with only Skype and Discord. I am not too familiar with Zoom but have managed to use it! Each platform is a little different and takes getting used to.

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    Yance Marti P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer IV
    City of Milwaukee
    Milwaukee WI
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  • 3.  RE: Best Practices for Virtual Events

    Posted 06-06-2020 06:00 PM
    Adding to Yance's feedback being able to articulate a clear end in mind - always important - will help focus the meeting and ensure the desired outcome is achieved. Also, the use of pre-read material should be considered. This could be grounding, background, or introductory content. The opportunity is reduce the amount of time spent in the meeting spent on covering transactional content and allow increased time for engagement and/or a shortened meeting. Both are important to reduce meeting burnout and loss of attention.

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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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