This guide is aimed at digital beginners, and will cover different options for those new to ‘virtual meetings’ as well as foundations in digital skills.
How to meet when you can’t meet in person?
Use landlines and mobiles for conference calls
If you aren’t able to meet in person, it’s still possible to hold small or large group meetings by phone. The options below are suitable for landlines and mobiles, or a combination:
3-way calls: the price and set up will depend on your phone supplier. The organiser’s handset needs to have an ‘R’ Recall button. Typically, up to 3 people can join for the price of a standard phone call. User guide for BT customers User guide for Virgin customers Other suppliers provide their own guides online.
Conference calls for multiple people: The organiser needs an internet connection to set up the account and arrange the call, but all other participants can join without internet. Meet Up Call offers a free account for the first 5 calls. You can arrange for people to be called automatically by the system, so all they have to do is answer their phone at the agreed time.
Using ‘virtual meeting’ tools
The benefit of a virtual meeting is that you can often have a lot of people together; you can all see each other and it often lends itself to a fun and sociable experience.
Local Trust Workplace messenger: Firstly you’ll need to sign up to Local Trust’s Workplace. To do that you’ll need to email firstname.lastname@example.org and request an account. Once you’ve done that we’d recommend you can view this short video to help you get set up. We also have specific guidance on Workplace you can view here. The messaging option on Workplace allows you to hold a call with up to 50 people at once. It also supports video calls on some devices. You will need an internet connection and data to join in.
Facebook messenger: Facebook messenger also allows you to have a call with up to 50 people at once. You will need an internet connection and data to join in.
Zoom: Zoom is an excellent video conference tool that can adapt to a variety of uses, from online pub quizzes to board meetings. We’ve so much to say about Zoom we’ve created its own specific guidance page.
Digital foundations skills
How to improve your digital skills
To aid in your confident adoption of online tools we’ve partnered up with the Good Things Foundation, the UKs leading digital inclusion organisation. Their foundational course ‘Learn my way’ takes you through all the basics, starting with how to use a mouse.
Find your local Good Things Foundation Online Centre
Online Centres are community focused organisations that network together to improve lives through digital. This network spans the most deprived areas of the country, ranging from GP surgeries, to churches and libraries. They are places where you can go in, access devices, have a cup of coffee and a chat, whilst learning digital tools. The Good Things Foundation manages the network, joining the dots and helping people navigate a confusing digital world. You can find your local Online Centre through this map.
Tips for staying safe online
We’ve all heard of the importance of internet security, from ‘Zoom bombing’ to identity theft and malware. Whilst there are never any full proof guarantees, here are our tips for staying safe online.
For a start we recommend checking out our partner Good Thing Foundation’s programme ‘Learn my way’. They have a module on online safety with lots of information, links and resources.
Use a good virus scanner and run it regularly on your computer. Bitdefender.com offers services (paid and free) for Windows, Apple and Android
Don’t open attachments unless you are sure of where they were sent from
Keep your software up to date
Set difficult to guess passwords (20 characters with a mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols) and a different password for every site. We’d recommend using a password manager. Apple products have this built in and there are many apps for Android and Windows users. Dashlane is a good, free password management tool.