What to think about when preparing your online meetings

Icon of two speech bubbles.

To prepare for your online meetings, there are a number of considerations.

  1. Community agreements – a way to set the norms for the group.
  2. Introductions and check-ins – a way to build cohesion and trust.

Community Agreements

These are often helpful in setting the tone for the session. They help people with what the social norms are for working together. This is a great way to make a space more inclusive.

  • We will all work to make this space free from racism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, sexism, misogyny, ageism, and violent speech.
  • Step up, step back. If you speak a lot, step back. If you don’t speak a lot, step up!
  • We centre voices of equity-seeking groups. Please understand that we give space for those that are not often heard from.
  • Assume people have positive intentions. Everyone has different experiences and knowledge. Please come with positive intent yourself. 
  • Be accountable for the impact of your actions and words.
  • Maintain confidentiality. Share the lessons, not the names.
  • Speak from your own experience, using “I” instead of generalizing.
  • Self-compassion. Give care and compassion to ourselves, whatever that might look like.
  • Unless you have been told or read the pronoun, please use gender neutral language. For example, folks or they/theirs.
A sketch of community agreements.
Another example of community agreements.


Introductions are also an important way to build group cohesion and trust. They help to let everyone know who is in the room.

Here are some examples of potential methods of introduction.

An excerpt from an introduction exercise showing speech bubbles and words that people have placed into them, such as "Curious" and "Tired" along with what they ate ("Ham sandwich") and where they currently are ("East Vancouver").
An example from a session.

Next, How to structure engaging online meetings

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts

Leave a Comment