Online Meetings

Best Practices for Convenors

For more comprehensive information about general principles of convening see the convenor’s handbook (HWYW). Convenors are entitled to a $5.00 discount on the purchase of  How Was Your Week. Please email for more information. A free PDF version available of an older edition can be found here. There is also a kindle version available from Amazon.

Video and Text Meeting Format (reference only) 

Becoming the host of a Zoom Meeting

Opening Message

Opening Message as a PowerPoint (edit as necessary to fit your meeting format)

Closing Message

Excerpts from HWYW (convenor cliff notes)

Video Meetings

Controlling the flow of the meeting.

  • In order to prevent disruption of the online meeting environment, convenors may need to turn off the mic and possibly the video of attendees. The convenor can remove someone from the meeting if an extreme case warrants it. We want to provide an open, non-judgemental meeting where everyone can participate in a free manner.  As the Convenor you may need to turn off the video, sound, or remove someone from the meeting when necessary. Here are some examples:
    • Attendee is having a conversation with someone in their location or on the phone. If the conversation is in person, and the attendee is not wearing headphones, they should turn off the sound so the meeting cannot be overheard.
    • Something private or inappropriate visible in the background. e.g. a naked child, someone drinking.
    • Attendee is being abusive or disruptive to other meeting participants or the convenor. (e.g. critical/non-constructive feedback, personally attacking other individuals at the meeting, continuing a disruptive behavior after being advised to stop, etc.)
    • Use of alcohol, drugs, or smoking/vaping on camera. 
  • The convenor or other attendees may elect to stay and talk after the meeting. A minimum of ½ hour buffer time is scheduled between Lifering Zoom hosted meetings.

Zoom Chat Box Policy

  • Attendees are advised to conduct themselves as they would while talking in the meeting. If it wouldn’t be appropriate to say in the meeting then it isn't appropriate to type it in chat.

Time Management

  • The Convenor needs to be mindful of the number of people in attendance and adjust the speaking time to allow everyone a chance to participate. As the Convenor you need to manage the time as necessary.

When to be silent at a meeting

  • The convenor may want to state:” If you are under the influence of alcohol or non medically indicated drugs, we appreciate the courage it took to come here but we ask that you please remain silent during the meeting.” The convenor may offer to stay afterwards to talk.

Outside Attendees

  • The convenor may want to ask “Is there anyone in this meeting who is not in recovery? If so, please identify yourself and tell the group why you are here.”


  • LifeRing meetings are anonymous
  • Everyone is advised to use headphones or to be somewhere where the meeting cannot be overheard
  • No participants, including the convenor, will record audio or video of the meeting.

Text Meetings

  • Online Chat Convenors are required to have at least six months of continuous sobriety in order to convene a meeting. 
  • Whenever a convenor has maintained less than six months of continuous sobriety it is the convenor’s responsibility to immediately (within 24 hours) inform the Chat Coordinator and to request that their meetings be removed from the schedule. Chat convenor names will be removed from the administrative lists at that time. 
  • Persons with three to six months of continuous sobriety may co-convene meetings as a trainee under the supervision of a convenor who meets the six months requirement. The supervisor need not be in the chat room during every trainee meeting, but it is strongly encouraged. 
  • Persons with less than three months of continuous sobriety are not allowed to convene meetings under any circumstances. 
  • During an official LifeRing meeting held within the chat room, the LifeRing convenor has full control over what occurs in the meeting. Convenors may warn, kick, or ban meeting participants from the chat room. This is in keeping with the autonomy of LifeRing meetings generally. 
  • Chat convenors are required to have two names: one for chatting between their meetings, and another in the form “Joe – Convenor” to be used solely during the active period of their meetings, (or when they are filling in for another convenor during that convenor’s scheduled meeting time). 
  • To clarify when a meeting is in progress, convenors MUST use the convenor chat name. Whenever a convenor is in the chat room wearing a convenor chat name, an official meeting is considered to be in progress. 
  • Convenors must remove their convenor names unless they are currently and immediately engaged in a scheduled meeting. 
  • Convenors are not moderators and may not use their convenor names during periods not explicitly listed on the chat schedule as their meeting times. To do so results in an immediate 3-day ban from the chat room and the requirement to apply for reinstatement as convenor. 
  • The end of a meeting should be indicated by the convenor, and the convenor should immediately change out of the convenor chat name at the end of the meeting. 
  • Meetings should not exceed one and one-half hours. Convenors are responsible for adjusting the timing of people’s participation to ensure that everyone who is in the chat room at the scheduled start of the meeting is afforded the opportunity to chat. Convenors may, but are not required to, include others who enter the meeting after the scheduled start. 
  • Convenors are required to notify regarding any warning, kick, or ban action taken during their meetings within one hour of the end of the meeting. Convenors are required to include the chat names of the chatters involved in the situation, the date and time of the incident in Pacific Standard Time, a transcript of the incident, a transcript of any private messages or emails between the convenor and the chatters involved, a description of the actions taken, and a summary of the reasons for action. Such convenor reports will not be made available to anyone other than the Chat Coordination Team, the Online Representative, or the LifeRing Board of Directors. 
  • Once the meeting is over, depending on the incident or situation, the Chat Coordinator may choose to make the convenor’s decision permanent. 
  • Outside of their own scheduled meetings, convenors have no special power, responsibility, or authority in the chat room. While convenors are expected to respect these guidelines and other individuals in the chat room, outside their scheduled meetings convenors, are held to no higher standard and are conveyed no privileges different from any other chatter. 
  • Convenors are expected to arrive at their scheduled meetings on time or to appoint an alternative convenor for that period. If a convenor does not arrive in the chat room by five minutes after the hour, it is the responsibility of any other convenor in the room at that time to change to their convenor name and to convene the meeting. It is at the discretion of the convenor who is “stepping in” whether to turn the meeting back over to the scheduled convenor upon their arrival. 
  • Convenors are expected to remain in the chat room for at least the first ten minutes of a scheduled meeting, and, if no other chatters are present for that period, may then leave the room. 
  • Convenors may not convene unscheduled meetings in any of the LifeRing chat rooms, with the exception that persons representing chartered international organizations may convene meetings in the rooms specified for their purposes without notice. 
  • Convenors may not “represent” other chatters in complaints to or disputes with the Chat Coordinator. 
  • Convenors will not receive special consideration or communication for complaints received on their own behalf or on behalf of others for any incident or situation occurring outside their specified meeting time. 
  • At the discretion of the Chat Coordinator, complaints regarding convenor behavior within the convenor’s scheduled meeting may be handled differently than other chat-related complaints. |