At the monthly critique writing group that we attend, our meetings consist of a presentation on writing, the critique of a member’s submitted writing, and then a writing exercise.
To pull this off, attendees need tables to sit at so they can write or type. A few electrical outlets in the room are also very helpful so that people can plug in their laptops if they need to. You may also need to bring some interior extension cords just in case the laptop cords won’t reach the wall outlets.
But of greatest importance for the presentation portion of our meetings is a projector, a screen, and occasionally a pair of external computer speakers for showing video or playing audio.
Projectors are expensive, but fortunately our library allows us to use theirs at no cost. And when our group previously held meetings in the hospital meeting room, they had a projector built into the ceiling and a lot of other convenient technology built into the room.
If your meeting location doesn’t have such technological amenities, try searching Craigslist or ebay for a used projector. Also look to see if there’s a computer recycling store in your area; they probably sell them as well. And if you don’t have a screen, you can always just use the wall.
Bear in mind when using a laptop that a vertical laptop screen separates you from your audience. If you’re going to use your laptop at meetings, I recommend either pushing the screen nearly onto its back or arranging the room so that people are sitting in a square or a circle so that you have people on your left and right and you don’t have to peek over your computer screen to look at group members.
Photo credit: flickr Creative Commons, Projector by Tristan Ferne