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Online Video Meetings using Zoom

Branches are free to choose whatever online meeting platform they wish to use. However, we are building expertise around Zoom as many Branches and the Shepherding Board are currently using it.

We hope to empower you to engage with Zoom. A good place to start is to watch online Zoom tutorials and then practice, practice, practice. We anticipate this page to be both a resource for you when you have questions as well as a place where you can share success stories and help answer other people’s questions. The page will be ever changing as we add more information and learn new things.

This is not intended to be a full step-by-step guide. Let us know if your Branch needs more detailed help and we can arrange individual meetings to help address your concerns.

Table of Contents

Getting Started

  • Start by visiting the Zoom.us website. Click on the following link to visit the site: Zoom.us
  • Click on Resources, and then click on live-training and it will bring up a page with live-training webinars. We recommend starting with the first one, Getting started with Zoom meetings. It is a 45 minute beginner training webinar that covers the basics of setting up and hosting a meeting. Click on Watch recording- no need to watch a live one. You can also click on the following link to go directly to the video: Getting Started Training Video
  • The next step is to practice setting up and hosting Zoom meetings with your Core Ministry team. Click on the following link for a 7 page Zoom Meeting Training- Reference Guide which will come in handy while you are getting familiar with Zoom: Zoom Meeting Training- Reference Guide
  • Another place to turn when you have questions is the Zoom Support page. Click on “Support” and it will bring up a Page that has a “How can we help?” Search bar. You can put in anything you are wanting to ask about Zoom. It will bring up Tutorials for you to watch and written explanations underneath.
    You can also click on the following link to go directly to Zoom Support: Zoom Support
  • The Page also brings up commonly asked for, short “Video Tutorials” underneath the Search bar. Each tutorial is short….roughly 4 to 5 minutes long and help you become more familiar with and comfortable using Zoom.
  • The bottom of the Page also has “Support Topics” that you can click on and it will bring up all related Tutorials and information available.
  • We also suggest the Zoom Meeting Training webinar. It is 60 minutes and touches on more advanced meeting set up options, meeting management controls, sharing screen options and break out rooms (although does not cover pre-assigning participants- more on this later) Click on Watch recording- no need to watch a live one. You can also click on the following link to go directly to the video: Zoom Meeting Training Webinar

Helpful Tips When Facilitating an Online Meeting

  • It does not work well for multiple people to be speaking at the same time, which includes saying a prayer as a group or singing a song. So it may be better to have only one person pray a prayer out loud while the rest of the group prays it silently or on mute.  Similarly, one person can play a song and the rest of the group can just listen or mute their audio. Facilitators will need to inform participates of this and may need to mute participates if they do not do so on their own.
  • Encourage your members to dedicate the meeting time as if they were in a regular meeting time so they can be present to your Small Group and be able to share their audio/video without distracting background noise or movement. This means choosing a quiet, comfortable place in your home (not out walking or driving in your car).
  • You can assign an unlimited number of Co-Hosts before you begin and during your meeting. These Co-Hosts will be able to control various aspects of the Host’s privileges such as “admit people into meeting”, muting participants, starting/stopping a recording. They will NOT be able to end the meeting or Open Breakout Rooms. Please search for “Using Co-host in a meeting” on zoom.us under “support” and entered on the search bar.
  • When the meeting begins, the Host should have all participants put their View on “Speaker View” instead of “Gallery” so that the person speaking will come up full screen for them. This will be helpful when giving announcements and the Focus Talk and Spiritual Reflection (if done live). Also, the Host should “Mute All” participants until they go into their Breakout sessions.
  • Host should disable Recording on their Profile settings.  Click Settings, Click Recording on top of page, Disable anyone to record meetings.
  • The Host should enable CHAT to NO ONE when the meeting is opened.  First, make your SGF’s or anyone else who you want to Chat with during meeting a Co-Host.  Then, disable the CHAT to All Members by Clicking Chat, Click on 3 dots at bottom right of Chat Box, and clicking No One.
  • Some branches will choose to not mute members upon entry to allow for fellowship time before the meeting. However once the meeting starts The Host should MUTE everyone  by Clicking “Participants” and then Clicking “Mute All”.
  • Make an announcement to the members at the beginning of the meeting to switch their View from “Gallery” to “Speaker View” for the Music Video, Focus Talk and  Spiritual Reflection. While in Small Groups, “Gallery View” will be preferable.
  • Remind your members that no one is allowed to post anything about the sessions on any Social Media or App such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp.
  • At beginning of meeting, remind members to turn off their cell phones and put aside for the duration so as not to be a distraction.
  • Encourage your members to gather any needed supplies or water/drinks before the session begins. This will allow them to stay in their quiet, private place and not be moving around their household.
  • Please remind all members to turn on their video. Seeing a smiling face is crucial in building trust and engagement in virtual communication.

Helpful Tips for Members

  • A successful online meeting will depend on members who are comfortable using Zoom. Click on this link for Helpful Hints for Members. Some branches are asking their SGFs to do a practice session with their members where they can share with them these basic zoom tools. Click on this link for an example of one branch’s agenda for a Small Group Zoom Trial Meeting.
  • Remember to have your device CHARGED before meeting, or better yet, have it plugged in!  For good Wifi, if possible stay close to your router (or use a hard-wired connection) and NOT in a high traffic area with other people (due to CONFIDENTIALITY ISSUES).
  • Remember to charge all devices before meeting.  Or Plug In.
  • Adjust camera if it’s too high or low. Camera on device should be at eye level.
  • Speak up when talking.
  • Stay seated and stay present.
  • Don’t eat during the meeting.
  • Make sure lighting is good.  It improves video quality.
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How To Share a Video Recording of a Focus Talk or Spiritual Reflection During a Meeting

  • First of all, make sure anything you will be sharing (recorded talk, youtube video, powerpoint, word document) is downloaded. opened up and ready to go on your desktop BEFORE you go into your meeting. Streaming content uses lots of bandwidth and can cause the video to be choppy. Also, close out anything like emails or other desktop apps you will not need BEFORE going into the meeting so that your internet speed will be at its best.
  • When you are ready to share the talk, click on GREEN Share Screen (found in the middle of your control bar). Next, click on the image of the talk (note: do not click on the first application which says screen as this is your entire desktop screen) Be sure to click on the boxes in the bottom left hand corner for “share computer sound” and “optimize screen sharing for video clip”.
  • You are now ready to share the video by clicking on the blue Share button in the bottom right corner and then hit the play button.

Breakout Room Helpful Hints

  • Each Small Group can ask for Volunteers to read the Cornerstone Prayer and then to begin the Shared Prayer part of the Breakout session.
  • Use the “raise hand” or “clapping hands” reaction in Small Groups to answer any questions members may have.
  • When searching for any information on Breakout Rooms….know that Zoom Rooms and Zoom Breakout Rooms are different. In Cornerstone, we always want to be reviewing information on BREAKOUT ROOMS.
  • Anyone joining the meeting using a Phone will not be automatically assigned to their Breakout Room. You will always have to “manually assign” them.
  • Once in the Breakout rooms, all participants should Mute themselves except for the Group Facilitator. The small groups should come up with a system of going through the Lesson Questions…the Group Facilitator may ask individuals Alphabetically one week and then start from Z to A the next week. Each Branch should discuss how to approach this with their Small Groups.
  • When Adding/Removing/Moving members to Small Groups, make sure to keep your CSV file updated even though Zoom will not require you to use it right now.
  • When Updating Breakout Rooms on Zoom for any changes, follow these instructions:
  • Go to Zoom.us Account, Go to Meeting Scheduled, and Click on the next Recurring Branch Meeting, then Click on Edit Meeting (on right side), then Click on “Edit All Occurrences”, then go down to the Breakout Rooms Pre-Assigned and go in to see the list of Rooms on left and the names of members will be shown on the right.  Click on Specific Room you want to Add new member and enter their email address in slot provided and hit return.  Their name will show up in Room now.  If you want to Remove a member, Go to the Room they are in, Find their name and click on it, You will be prompted on right-hand side of name to Remove or Move.  Click Remove and Return.
  • Once you are finished with all changes, Click “SAVE”.
  • Go to bottom of meeting and Click “SAVE MEETING”.
  • After Opening all Breakout Rooms, Broadcast a message notifying the Rooms if anyone is in the wrong room they should click “Leave the Room” so they can be moved into their correct Breakout Room.
  • When you are making up your CSV file for Breakout Rooms, it is better to use Names for each Room (like Pat’s Room or Mike’s Room).  It is easer to find Names when you are in a Crunch to find Room Names.
  • It is Important to have an Alphabetical List by First Name of all members that includes their first name, last name, and then their room name for manually assigning them to their rooms quickly.

Do We Need to Download Zoom?

  • Zoom Plans: All Zoom Plans begin by creating an account.
    • The “Basic” Plan is FREE and allows you to set up meetings for 100 people for 40 minutes. Then it will shut off your meeting and you will have to log into the meeting to continue it.
    • The “Pro” Plan cost $14.99 + tax/month and allows you to set up meetings for 100 people with a 24-hour time limit. You will be a “Licensed” User and considered the “Host” of the meeting. This plan will be adequate for the needs of most Cornerstone Branches.
  • Creating a web Zoom account – go to Zoom.us and click on “Sign IN” and “Create a new account”. This requires an email address, a password (which you create), and then entering your birthdate. Next, click on “continue” and then follow instructions until it shows you “Activate Account”. Click on that and you will have created an Account.
    • Note: Rather than using a personal email account to set up your Branch’s Zoom account, consider using a Cornerstone created email for your Branch like: stl-annunziata-zoom@thecornerstonescripturestudy.org. Send an email to web-help@thecornerstonescripturestudy.org to let us konw if you’d like to do this.
  • Downloading the Zoom app onto your desktop is FREE and easy. Google Zoom.us and Click on “Download”. Will bring you to a screen called “Download Center”. Click on “Zoom client for Meetings”. The Download will be “Installed” and you will see the Zoom App appear somewhere on your desktop. You can use this desktop App to join or schedule meetings.

How to Break Small Groups into Rooms Using Zoom

Cornerstone branches are trying out two different methods to facilitate the process of pre-assigning members into Breakout rooms: Authentication and Registration. Zoom assigns people to breakout rooms by matching preregistered or authenticated email addresses to an imported csv file of members’ e-mail addresses by small group.

Each option has advantages and disadvantages and both make joining the meeting more complicated for members than just clicking on a Zoom meeting link. Additionally, with each method, if a person changes devices, they will most likely have to “re-authenticate” or “re-register” themselves. For these reasons, smaller branches, that only have one or two small groups, may want to consider manually assigning their members to their breakout room during the meeting.

Meanwhile, for a good overview of break out rooms, click on the following link to go directly to the video: Pre-assigning participants to breakout rooms

If you are interested in learning more about Authentication, click here for detailed, step by step instructions. Since Registration is still a work-in-progress, instructions are not available yet.

How Can Members Make Donations if We Are Meeting Online?

Many of our members donate with a check or cash given at our Branch Meetings. That will be more difficult to do this year since many of our Branches will be meeting online.

Members can donate online using our website. Donations are processed using PayPal, but they do not to have a PayPal account – they can enter a credit card if they choose to do so. Have members click “Donate” on the main menu of the website or send them this link:  https://thecornerstonescripturestudy.org/connect-with-us/donations/

All online donors will receive a Thank You and Acknowledgement letter (for tax purposes) from our Central Treasurer.

Members can also be given the address of your Branch Treasurer so they can mail donations to them by check.

Need help? Email web-help@thecornerstonescripturestudy.org to contact the Technology Team.

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