April 05, 2020

Virtual All Hands Report

Screenshot of Zoom AHM

Virtual Zoom NM EPSCoR All Hands Meeting


By Sara Pichette

Like many events and meetings across the world, the NM SMART Grid Center annual All Hands Meeting (AHM) shifted from face to face to virtual space seemingly overnight. As news of school closures and other mandates were announced in March, the unparalleled shift to home and online rippled across our lives, taking meetings and classes with it. While we were excited to gather all team members in one space to communicate progress and look towards the future, safety and health are the top priority. Swift changes were made, placing emphasis on virtual group meetings and the AHM transformed into four productive research groups and CI meetings. This allowed team members to give updates, discuss the next steps, and plan for working remotely on the project.

While this year’s gathering looked different, we are thankful for the option of video conferencing and the flexibility and resourcefulness of all our team members.

As we navigate the newfound Zoom world we are living in, here are a few tips to make your next virtual meeting successful: • If you’re the host, arrive a bit early to the video conference so you can greet people as they pop up on your screen and engage in a bit of friendly small talk.

  • Encourage attendees to turn on their video — let them know ahead of time if it’s a requirement so they have time to prepare or look presentable.
  • Use people’s names and invite them to participate.
  • Create warmth by looking directly into the camera to make “eye contact” with your participants.
  • Smile, insert an occasional laugh and convey a friendly, engaging tone.

Adapted from “Virtual Meetings Don’t Have to Be a Bore” by Andy Molinsky