It took me a week to get the gist of this conference. Before learning, I tried joining a Kampala Metropolitan Rotary Club on a Friday and I couldn’t hear a thing. Instead of bothering people in their personal inboxes, I left the meeting. I tried again on the following Monday to join my own club’s meeting but experienced the same problem.
However, I must say “Udaku hautaki uvivu” because my friends in a lesser serious, lesser formal setting set up a meeting just to catch up on nothing specific and somehow I figured the audio out.
I have so far done a meeting on Zoom and Go-to apps and I feel quite learned. I must say, this is a safe meeting space, very convenient in that one needs not to dress up or do makeup or fuel the car and drive anywhere. All you need is a smart phone or tablet or a laptop or a gadget of your choice and internet.
At a lot of the usual meetings, one tends to be tense especially if you need to be somewhere else on the same day.
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You therefore usually don’t concentrate. With online meetings, you can be online with one team in your car at a parking lot right outside your next appointed venue. With the current health scare, you can have one meeting after another. All you need to have are the,” meeting IDs” to enable you to join and leave meetings as needed.
Another advantage of online meetings is that they can be recorded so in case one isn’t in a position or mood to take the minutes, you can always go back to the recording for reference.
My favorite aspect of online meetings is that I got to see friends I have not seen in a while, from different clubs even different countries while on one online meeting.
Lastly, as a Rotarian, I still get to participate in our various fundraising activities by getting information within the same platform and sending my contribution via Mpesa.
Everything does indeed have a good and bad side of it. Even though the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of online meetings, the latter matters and so I’ll just mention a few.
Technological challenges affect many of us. This can cause unintended absenteeism from the meeting, poor participation where one does not know how to handle the audio or video commands, unintentionally leaving meetings maybe due to faulty internet connections and very embarrassing situations where one forgets to mute the audio while on a toilet break or one forgets to stop the video while making a necessary movement around the house and a spouse or child is caught on video in an embarrassing situation.
Affordability of good internet services is also a disadvantage in that most people are used to WI-FI at either the work place or a favorite restaurant and now that our movements are limited, one finds that they must subscribe to a dedicated internet service provider, which is an additional cost to cover and for some, too expensive.
Lastly, in case of need for signatures, on line meetings cannot solve this. One still needs to move physically to either a cyber café or wherever there’s a scanner.
All in all, meeting your favorite people; friends and family or project partners or work mates is possible in this uncertain period without adding to the scare.