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TD-Info Paper: User Guide for Online Meetings

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TD-Info Paper: User Guide for Online Meetings

*** Updated version added 23/04/2020 ***

An updated version of the TD-Info Best Practice Guide has been produced, incorporating feedback following the initial release. Updates include:

  • Suggestions for managing questions from attendees
  • Additional tips on avoiding the unintentional sharing of material open on the presenters desktop
  • The value of a post meeting evaluation to promote better meeting practices
  •  References and Additional Reading section added


The Skype for Business project has accelerated creation of an updated version of the User Guide for Online Meetings (solution agnostic and one of its project deliverables) in the light of the general need for increased online working.

A notice about this - and link to the document - was emailed to members on 27 March. This paper will be updated iteratively as new information is identified - and members are invited to provide feedback.

Download a copy updated on 23rd April 2020 HERE

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) publish guidance for video conference services.  Following the dramatic increase of utilisation of tools such as Teams, Zoom and Go to Meeting, NCSC have published advice for organisations grappling with security issues. Read the guidance here


A recent communication to members of the ICEF community summarised the following etiquette for online sessions [with additions in brackets]: 

"Managing a large meeting entirely virtually is likely to be tricky, at least to begin with, hence the need for the following guidelines:

  • Please mute your microphone unless speaking
  • We will take questions at the end of each agenda item but please be mindful that everyone might want join in at the same time. Recommend that you try to make all your points in a single contribution (per agenda item) and let others know when you’ve finished.
  • Introduce yourself each time you speak
  • If you have pre-formed questions please email them beforehand [to the meeting organiser; otherwise, use the chat function to type questions during the meeting]. Equally, feel free to add questions, risks and issues between meetings
  • Rather than our usual round-the-table introductions at the beginning of the meeting, I intend to list attendees according to your meeting request submissions. [Where attendees join by email, they are visible by their email address; where they join by phone, they are visible by their phone number.  In the case of the latter, a query will be made to match names to numbers; all this for the purpose of maintaining an accurate register of participants in the online meeting.]


See also the Industry Security Notice: Requirements for Remote Working with MOD Material News Item and download link.


Also, you may find useful a video (52:53) titled Leading through a pandemic: Working virtually.  Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice, advises on the actions to take "to ensure you’re not just surviving but thriving in the world of virtual working."  From her monthly HotSpotsMovement (March) newsletter is this summary of key messages in the video. 

"Lynda has identified six key actions that will help each of us, and our colleagues, ensure we remain high performing whilst working virtually:

1. Invest in intuitive technology – Make sure the technology needed for home working is part of everyday working, so people are familiar with it and can be productive while using it.

2. Experiment with big conversations – Now is a great opportunity to bring your people together at scale, to try new ways of working, solve problems together and engage in mass discussions. We bring thousands of people together across organisations and countries for 72-hours in our Collaboration Jams.

3. Reimagine the home workspace – Make sure it is dedicated to work and can be left when work is complete, in order to keep the boundaries of home and work life distinct. Protect your workspace from outside distraction to avoid feelings of rootlessness and ensure that as well as easy access to work tools there is room for idiosyncrasy.

4. Make it human – Use video as much as possible so that people can feel as though they are interacting face-to-face. Make sure you build in water cooler conversations: a daily check-in, ‘coffee break’ or weekly ‘cocktail hour’ to ensure people have the opportunity for the social interaction they would usually have in the office.

5. Create natural working rhythms – Regular daily team meetings are vital for providing the workday structure. Projects also need to maintain a structured kick-off, onboarding and milestone structure.

6. Focus on collaboration and trust – By building structured tasks with the following elements:

a. Decide goals and key roles
b. Define boundaries and control
c. Clarify tasks and processes
d. Measure roles and commitments

One of the most important points Lynda made on the webinar was that this is not a blip. We are not going to return to the way we worked before, as it will fundamentally change the way both individuals and organisations work. The current situation gives us an opportunity to reset our ways of working and, by keeping our innovative spirit, emerge more resilient than before."

Added: 29th April 2020


Defence & Industry Support Chain Optimisation Group (DISCOG)

Information Security Forum

Joint Information Group (JIG) Strategy Board

Skype for Business - Industry Federation

Support & Information Innovation Community of Interest (SII-COI)

TD-Info Council