How to Schedule a Meeting

Virtual Meeting Appointments


Who: Legislators, library staff, library patrons, library boards, Friends of the Library groups

What: Schedule a 15-30 minute meeting with your legislators

Where: A virtual meeting platform such as Zoom, WebEx, Google Meet etc.

When: Legislative week – February 21-27th.

Why: To advocate for state legislative support for libraries

How: Select 2 to 4 people* as speakers in order to keep the conversation focused, yet allow the legislator to hear from multiple perspectives, but feel free to "fill" the virtual room with lots of supporters.

In order to be respectful of the legislator’s time, we encourage you to attend meetings with your regional library cohort. If you need assistance getting in touch with your regional public library system, please contact Legislative Chair, Sarah Hawkins.


Setting up the meeting:

  • Email your legislator or legislative assistant.

  • Subject line matters: Virtual meeting regarding library legislation

  • Less is more! Save the details for the virtual meetings. "I am asking for 15 minutes on your calendar to discuss library legislation."

  • Be prepared that the legislator will ask you to set up the virtual meeting and send them a calendar invite.


Sample agenda:

  • Thank the legislator for meeting with the group

  • Tell about something positive that happened in your library in 2020

  • Address the library legislative priorities

  • Finish with a legislative ask (reference specific bill numbers if you can!)

  • Again, thank the legislator and all of the participants for their time.


*Ideas for speakers: Regional library system Director/staff; Library Director/staff; Library Board President/Member; MLA Legislative Chair, Chair-Elect, or Past Chair; City Council representative; Friends member; library user

Tips for a Successful Zoom Meeting

Virtual Meeting Best Practices*

General:

  • Energy for a virtual session is equally as important as if you were meeting in-person. Begin your session with an upbeat tone and a smile that captures the representative’s attention.

  • Panels or multiple presenters generally increase engagement. If you have multiple speakers, make sure everyone is aware of the structure and order.

  • Consider doing a practice session with your panel of speakers. If you are not comfortable with any part of the technology, request additional help.

  • During any practice session, make sure to use devices that will be used on the day of. Consider and discuss potential back-up plans (i.e. internet is working, computer freezes).

  • Silence is ok. Give participants time to process and share their thoughts/questions

  • Pick one person to be the lead for the meeting.


Set-Up:

  • You will be on camera, so determine your background in advance. Ensure your background is visually appealing and not distracting.

  • Position your webcam to be as level as with your face as possible. Avoid any weird angles and be sure to sit far enough away to keep your entire head in the camera window.

  • Make sure your face has some good light on it; nothing too hard, but not too dim. Natural lighting from a window or soft lamp should work great. Avoid having a window with light bleeding through the background.

  • Select a location free from distractions.

  • Preserve bandwidth. A minimum of 5 Mbps upload speed is recommended to ensure a reliable internet connection. Wire in through an ethernet cable rather than Wi-Fi whenever possible. Turn off the Wi-Fi on your cell phone and other devices when presenting.


2 or 3 days before your appointment:

  • Confirm with the legislator: meeting time /Virtual meeting information (meeting ID)

  • Send a reminder to all speakers and attendees, confirm meeting time and virtual access information


Day of your appointment:

  • Start your session 10 minutes prior to its “start time” (i.e. if it starts at 12pm, make sure you are logged in by 11:50am).

  • Make sure that your presenters have the appropriate permissions for the appointment.

  • Once the appointment is “live and representatives have joined, the leader should welcome all the attendees, provide housekeeping details and introduce the speakers.

  • When you are not speaking, remain on mute.

  • Begin the appointment with an upbeat tone and a smile that captures the representative’s attention.


After your appointment:

  • Send legislators a thank you with a participant list.


*Thank you to the MLA 2020 Conference Committee and Management HQ for the template guide