Building a Neighborhood Preparedness Group via Zoom


A week ago I was invited to share some Emergency Plan Guide stories about building a neighborhood preparedness group. But it wasn’t via this website, and it certainly wasn’t in person. It was as the presenter in a Zoom webinar! Here you see me from both sides of the camera!

Virginia on zoom call on topic of building a neighborhood preparedness group

Of course, I’ve told many stories about group building over the years. Many have found their way into Advisories. I’ve even collected some of my favorite outreach stories and turned them into a book: Emergency Preparedness Meeting Ideas.

But this Zoom webinar was a new experience!

A LinkedIn connection passed my name along to a neighborhood preparedness group just getting organized in Northern California. Since all their new members and potential members are stuck at home because of the pandemic, they are doing outreach and training via Zoom – and they invited me to be the featured speaker at last Saturday’s meeting.

Like you, I’ve gotten used to attending online webinars. (I make it a practice to add a few questions and comments in the chat box to make sure the presenter realizes the audience is engaged and interested!) But this was my first participation as presenter. I had to manage lighting, and audio, and video. (What were audience members seeing in my office, behind me?) I had to switch screens to my PowerPoint presentation. All new skills!

The presentation went better than I had hoped.

I used mostly photos to share our experiences with team building here at Emergency Plan Guide. Some photos were from our own group, others from activities our readers have sent in, and a few were screen shots from online resources. Only six slides had any text.

The presentation went well, finished on time, and it was fun! (We encountered only one technical glitch, from which I was smoothly rescued by the host.)

A number of people expressed generous appreciation – this one was particularly kind: “. . . love that you are sharing your pragmatic recommendations and lessons learned so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel!”

Yes, sharing was the name of the game that Saturday morning. And I would like to extend that interest in sharing via . . .

An invitation to you!

People across the country are working hard to help neighborhoods get better prepared. And it’s not an easy job. The annual FEMA National Household Preparedness Survey shows that while a few more people collect a few more supplies every year, the number of people that participate in neighborhood group activities stays stubbornly around 51%.

I believe that until neighbors can work together to prevent or respond to a disaster, we are spinning our wheels!

Our emphasis at Emergency Plan Guide always comes back to neighborhood team building. Can you help?

What’s the best meeting you ever put on in your neighborhood?

Here’s a chance for you to try something new yourself during this pandemic. Send me a story of your “best meeting” for building your neighborhood group’s skills and connections. In turn, I’ll share it here at Emergency Plan Guide and on LinkedIn, too, where hundreds or even thousands of people will see it!

If you think this may be the perfect time to become “a published author” (!), let me know. I’ll send you some simple copywriting suggestions to help turn your story into a useful and shareable resource.

I know you can do this, because I’ve received great emails in the past that were perfect as “best meeting ever” Advisories. (Often, I have referred to them here!)

We need to be creative during these enforced stay-at-home times. I did my first webinar. Maybe you can do your first neighborhood meeting story!

I look forward to hearing from you. Together we can strengthen the entire community!

Your Emergency Plan Guide team

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