Monthly Meetings 21st Century Style

by Mike Kendra on February 28, 2011

"Can you hear me at the meeting now?!?"

With the economy so weak, and jobs hard to come by, skirmishing units have had a hard time getting bodies on the line to shoot musket team. I’ve seen this problem particularly a regional skirmishes in my region. It seems that school or work, or even family life has become priority number one in all our lives, and no-one is going to argue with that.

For my team, when it’s comes to having a team meeting, what we’ve come to know as a “Battery Meeting” at a local location has become increasingly impossible. At first attendance at meetings started to slip, instead of ten guys, it was just 6 or 8. Then some core team members moved to other nearby, or in some cases, not-so nearby regions. We didn’t necessarily lose members, but the physical distance and/or the lack of time each member has available has hurt our meeting attendance.

At one point it got so bad, we stopped holding our regularly scheduled meetings altogether, and only met twice a year at the National. That brings it’s own issues. Members want to get to the Fort, shoot, B.S., go to Sutlers, go out to eat, everything but have a meeting. Then when we do drag everyone’s butt to the meeting, usually on Saturday during the Carbine match, we can’t hear each other speak because our campsite is 50 yards from the firing line…..

So, this winter, I searched out for an alternative meeting method. I knew that an internet chat was out, many of our members don’t have high speed internet, a few have no internet at all. (A shocker in 2011, I know!) I needed something that would allow our members to attend our meeting from the comfort of home, or even their office if they so chose…

With the knowledge of my tech support experience I knew their were Conference Call services available, so I set our to find one that could fit our limited budget of $0.00. I didn’t expect to find one, but I did!

The service I discovered provided us a phone number, it has a (610) area code, it’s not a local call, but most people have the ability to make long distance calls today without charges, either by cell phone, or Vonage like I have at home. The service gives you a PIN code to attend your specific meeting, and even provides an ability to record the conference call so that others who missed the meeting can listen to it at a later date over the internet!

We scheduled our first meeting at 8:15pm one night last month and we had I think 10 members attend, and generally everyone enjoyed the experience. It did take some getting used to, and members needed to be careful not to monologue for minutes, or to step on other people while they spoke. But it does work!

We will be attempting our next meeting in a few days, I will report on the progress of having such meetings.

If you’d like to try it out, it takes at least two people to have a conference, one registered host, and a second caller, here is the web site to register:

FYI: That simply a link to the site, I get no commission or payment for recommending or suggesting this link!

What steps has your team taken to keep monthly meetings going? Very large teams might find this method to be too clumsy, but I’m sure that traditional monthly meetings are more difficult for everyone these days!

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