"How to Host a Virtual Meeting?" – NTO Provides Training for its Members

COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted all of us, changing lives and routines of people and organisations on multiple levels. In this context, virtual meetings became a new reality, adjusting to which is no easy task. In this context it’s even more important for the NTO to keep developing capacities of its members, helping them provide better services to their member tax administrations.

Upon the request from the Association of Tax Authorities of Islamic Countries, ATAIC, the Secretariat of the NTO organised a peer-to-peer learning event for the secretariat staff of the ATAIC on Thursday, Nov. 12. Running administrative meetings and holding technical events digitally is still a big challenge for many organizations, let alone younger and smaller ones like ATAIC.

The acutest need for them was finding a reliable and secure platform with simultaneous interpretation feature, that could also work for locations with slower Internet connection and specific software restrictions in some countries.

IOTA (Intra-European Organisation of Tax Administrations) and CIAT (Inter-American Center of Tax Administrations) secretariats, the NTO members with rich experience in online event management, have kindly agreed to provide their input alongside the Secretariat of the NTO.

The Secretariat of the NTO presented research and experiences on working with digital tools and platforms and outlined general lessons learned when organizing an online event, timing and interactivity being the hot topics. Presenting Microsoft Teams features the Secretariat of the NTO mentioned the option of live caption and subtitles in a chosen language during the presentations.

Eugenijus Soldatkovas, Manager of IOTA Work Programme, gave a detailed presentation on the use Microsoft Teams, their pros and cons for different types of meetings and shared his personal experiences.

David Augusto Borja Padilla, Project Manager at CIAT, presented their experience with the video conference software „Zoom“ and showed how to set up a Zoom meeting directly in the program. Raul Zambrano, Technical Assistance and Information Technology and Communication Director, answered technical questions from the participants and suggested conducting a survey among the potential event participants prior to choosing a platform: in this way the organiser can ensure that the online event takes place on a platform acceptable by all participants and, perhaps, the most convenient for them.

The ATAIC team was very interested to discuss further practical details, which led to an active and involving discussion. Not only ATAIC, but other participants also noted the productivity and benefit of this peer-to-peer exchange. The NTO is committed to facilitate similar need-based events in the future to ensure that each member benefits from the knowledge available in the network and gets peer support when needed.