You are here: Home / Outreach / Workshops / Meeting Guidance


Meetings Guidance for Organizers

The following provides guidance to organizers of CIG sponsored events. This compilation of cross-disciplinary organizational best practices aims to assist organizers in creating a forum that fosters inclusion of all voices within a secure environment, while actively involving all participants in the pursuit of your event objectives.  Not all guidance applies to every event. Where noted, guidance may only be relevant to virtual (V), in person (IP), or hybrid (H) events.  

Note: While compliance to these policies are not mandatory, we will not sponsor events that compromise the safety, including physical and psychological, of its participants. In addition, CIG has a zero tolerance policy for biased, demeaning, coercive, hostile or harassing behavior and any threat of violence or harm whether serious or in jest. 


What are the goals for the meeting?

What are the expected outcomes for the meeting?

Who are the target participants?

Will there be significant international participation?

Which meeting format  - virtual (V), in person (IP), or hybrid (H) - will best allow participants to produce the expected outcomes and further the goals of the workshop?

Location (IP)

Safety. Ensure meeting locations are in areas where participants and guests of all identities can feel safe, comfortable, and accepted e.g., areas which support gender diversity, access to health care, and human rights. If field trips are part of your event, be aware of whether the location is welcoming to participants with protected characteristics. Some locations may also be prohibitive to participants with limited mobility. Safety is paramount, and we hold the expectation that all events will prioritize safety.

Land Acknowledgement. Incorporate a land acknowledgement statement recognizing the Indigenous land on which the meeting is conducted. See:

Local Themes. Connect meeting themes to local or regional impacts and issues.

Outreach. Reach out to local community colleges or minority serving institutions (MSIs). Create engagement opportunities for speakers to interact with students prior, during, and after the workshop.


Structure (V)

Each day should be ~ 4 hrs to account for events outside the workshop

Create longer breaks ~30 min to allow participants in different time zones meal breaks

Consider time zones to encourage participation of the expected group of participants

Network. Include time for informal interactions - breaks, poster sessions.

Engage. Create ways to re-engage participants through polls, quizzes, short breakouts, whiteboards, etc.

Roles. Assign roles e.g., discussion leaders, facilitators, note takers, time keepers, technical support etc.

Time. Anticipate real time adjustments. Start and end times should never be changed. Do not skip breaks.

Nonattendee. Gather input/questions from those who cannot attend. Consider collecting questions in advance from others.

Poll. Complete polling/feedback of participants before the end of the meeting.

Diversity. Consider having speakers and facilitators to include discussions of diversity. Invited speakers should be encouraged to reflect on their commitment to diversity and inclusion in their presentations as part of their lectures energizing others and sparking initiatives.


Log in early for tech check and clarify last minute logistical issues. (V,H)

Record meeting (V). Check to see if high quality recording is available for in person eventsPost talks (pdf, recordings) online for later viewing. Check with presenters before posting in case a presentation must be redacted or  embargoed..

Welcome participants and introduce organizers. 

            Organizers should have their camera on. (V)

Identify yourself by standing up or waving etc. Use distinguishing backgrounds (V) or badges (IP).

            Participants should have their microphones muted. (V)

Remind participants to use their real names (V).

Facilitators for all sessions should have their camera on. (V)

Run an icebreaker poll. This is especially useful if you are using interactive polling and helps to set the tone. 

Introduce format and identify opportunities to ask questions.  

Will it be in Chat or live or both or something new?

Encourage participants when called on to unmute themselves, turn on their camera while asking questions or when participating in discussions. (V)

During Q&A

Prioritize questions from early career participants. 

Move around the “room” alternating hybrid voices and others to speak.

Prompt participants with questions if needed.

Post adjustments to agenda during break times.

Keep screen sharing to a minimum to let attendees see each other. (V) (H) If hybrid, consider having a second screen showing virtual participants.

At the end of the meeting, summarize key points and next steps.


Start by schmoozing

Have all participants introduce themselves

Identify roles (facilitator, notetaker, report back)

Go around the room so all voices are heard.

Promote “face” time. Participants should be encouraged to have their cameras on unless their environment is unfavorable. Know your distractions.

Meetings Etiquette for Participants

Mute your microphone when not speaking. (V)

Use your real name when signing into a meeting. (V)

Have multiple questions? Pause. Breathe. Listen. And let others interact as well.

Keep responses collegial, collaborative, and constructive.  Be respectful and remember word choice matters.

Keep “chat” communications professional. Comments in jest can be difficult to interpret. A joke for one person is a microaggression to another.

Use the pronoun “I” (as in "What I heard  …") and discuss ideas. Using "I" statements can be more effective in promoting understanding and avoiding potential anger. When expressing ideas, using "I" allows for personal ownership and helps to convey individual perspectives without placing blame or provoking defensive reactions. By utilizing this approach, it creates a safer and more open space for dialogue, enabling diverse viewpoints to be shared and considered.

Be mindful of your status in this community and how what you do and say affects others.

Comply with facilitators requests.