Questions about OnTopic Connect? We’re here for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
- About OnTopic
- The Timeline
- Managing Organizations and Teams
- Managing Meetings and Subjects
- Managing Actions and Decisions
When you invite a new team member, OnTopic Connect suggests the names and (truncated) mail addresses of existing users, based on your input. This is not only for your convenience, but also to prevent duplicate personal profiles.
If you wish to be excluded from these suggested results, click your name in the upper right corner of OnTopic Connect. Choose ‘Personal info’ and uncheck the option ‘Prevent duplicate user profiles’.
Please note: if you disable this feature, other users can only add you to a team / meeting by entering your exact email address.
Every new organization in OnTopic starts out with a free Trial subscription. You can work with an unlimited number of teams during a 30 day trial period. After 30 days, OnTopic automatically archives all teams. Meetings of archived teams remain available, but you can’t edit them, nor can you create new meetings. After upgrading to a paid plan, you can reactivate the teams.
If you are a member of more than one organization in OnTopic, you can choose on which email address you’d like to receive notifications for each organization. For example: when an action is assigned to you, or when an agenda is published.
Here’s how to assign an email address to an organization:
- In the left column of the timeline, click the info or cog (gear) icon next to the organization name.
- The panel displays the email address to which notifications will be sent. By default, this is your primary email address.
- Click the email address or the icon to change it. You will be taken to your personal info page, where you can specify a different email address for each organization.
Visibility of your email addresses to other users
In overviews of organization members, team members and invitees for a meeting, the email address is shown that you’ve selected for that organization. In addition, other OnTopic users may invite you to other teams and organizations: when they search by name, both primary and secundary email adresses will show up in the search results in a partially hidden manner. In this way, you can be recognized by all email addresses you use without any privacy risk.
For easy login, you can connect your existing OnTopic user profile to your Google Account. Here’s how to set it up:
- Sign in to OnTopic with your existing user name and password
- Open your OnTopic user profile by clicking your name in the upper right corner and choosing ‘profile administration’
- Click ‘Link to my Google Account’
- Follow the instructions in the Google pop-up window.
Your OnTopic profile is now linked to your Google Account. From now on, you can choose ‘sign in with Google Account’ in the OnTopic signup screen.
Tip: the ‘Remember me’ feature also works when signing in with your Google Account.
- Your OnTopic email address will be changed to the email address associated with your Google Account. You will be receiving all OnTopic notifications and newsletters on that address
- After linking OnTopic to Google, you can also sign in with your Google email address and your old password.
By default, all members of an organization can see details about all teams within their organization on the tab ‘teams’ (found under organization settings). They can see the team name, team members and the dates of the most recent meetings or future meetings. Of course, they can’t actually open these meetings if they’re not team members.
However, sometimes all details about a team should be hidden from everyone except the team’s own members and the organization admin. This can be done by the team admin, by unchecking the box ‘Team name and composition visible to members of other teams within this organization’. This option can be found in two places:
- In the team settings, on the tab ‘team administration’
- In the organization settings, on the tab ‘teams’ (when clicking the team’s name).
Your data is stored in the Netherlands, on the servers of the well-established hosting provider Spango Internet B.V. The connection between your browser and the OnTopic servers is protected with 256-bit encryption. This is shown in your browser’s address bar. The security certificate is in our company’s name: Dark Hippo B.V.
The data you save in OnTopic is only visible to users with whom you share meetings. Permanent team members can view all meetings of a team, even meetings that took place before they became a team member. A member that is removed from a team, no longer has access to that team’s meetings – not even to the ones he attended before removal. However, other team members can still see the former member was present during past meetings.
A guest for an entire meeting has access to all the topics in the meeting he is attending. Please note that for all topics, the guest can see the historical minutes, decisions and actions.
A guest to only one topic has access to that topic only. Please note that the guest can also see historical minutes, decisions and actions for this topic.
Only you have access to your personal notes.
Your OnTopic user profile is your personal environment in which you can find all your organizations, teams and meetings. The user profile is yours, it does not belong to any organization. It’s free and will always remain so.
As an OnTopic user, you can be invited to attend meetings (as a permanent team member, guest for an entire meeting or guest for a single topic). Therefore, you can see multiple organizations and teams within your user profile.
You can also create organizations and teams yourself, and invite others to them. Any organization you create, requires a subscription. Every organization starts with a free 30 day trial subscription.
For example: you are invited as a member to a team created by somebody else. This team (and the corresponding organization) will appear in your column with organizations and teams. Joining other organizations’ meetings is always free – regardless of the amount of organizations, teams and meetings to which you are invited.
You like OnTopic and decide that you want to use it for managing your own company. You create a new organization within your user profile. This organization automatically starts out with a (free) 30 day trial. During or after the trial period, you can upgrade your organization to a paid subscription.
Your user profile is yours. It’s free and will always remain so. Your user profile can be connected to several organizations. You can:
- be added as a permanent member of a team within an organization
- be invited as a guest at a meeting in another organization (for the entire meeting or for one topic only)
- create your own organizations and teams.
Are you no longer connected to one of your organizations? For example, because you changed jobs? The administrator of that organization will ensure that you no longer have access to this company’s meetings. Your personal user profile will remain intact : all other organizations / teams with corresponding meetings will continue to be available in your timeline.
If the email address you use to log in is cancelled (for example, because you changed jobs or internet provider), you can still log in. However, you will no longer receive emails from OnTopic, for example if an action is put in your name or if a team member proposes a new topic. Note: you can no longer use the ‘forgotten password’ service, since the mail that allows you to reset your password can no longer be delivered to you.
However, you can still simply log in and change your email address. From that moment on, you can log in with your new email address. You can change your password by clicking your name (top right in OnTopic) and choosing ‘My profile’.
You can use OnTopic to manage all of your meetings, for all of the organizations to which you belong. For example for your own business, but also for the sports club of which you are a board member.
You can create your own organizations and teams. You can also be invited by other OnTopic users to other organizations’ meetings. All these organizations and teams will appear in the left column.
The numbers behind the organization names and team names indicate how many meetings you have not yet opened, after these have been published or edited.
Suppose you are a team member without admin rights. When a team member with admin rights creates and publishes an agenda for a meeting, the counter ‘1’ appears after the team name so you know there is a new agenda. The meeting will also be shown in bold in the timeline with meetings. Whenever the meeting changes (for example because a topic is added or the status has changed), the meeting will be shown bold again and will be counted in the amount of ‘unread meetings’.
This way, you can immediately see where agendas or minutes have been published or edited.
In your timeline, you meetings are shown in reverse chronological order. The meeting that lies furthest in the future, is shown at the top. The number followed by the letter d indicates in how many days this meeting will take place. For example, 7d means that the meeting will take place in 7 days.
A meeting that has not yet been opened after it has been published or edited, is shown bold in your timeline. There are several situations in which a meeting is marked ‘new’ :
- an agenda has been published for the first time
- an agenda has been edited after publication – for example, topics have been edited or their order has been changed
- the status of a meeting has been changed – for example from ‘agenda published’ to ‘minutes published’.
The number of new or edited meetings is also shown in the numbers (in squares) behind the organization names and team names.
These meetings have not yet been published by the team administrator. You can open these meetings after their publication.
In your timeline, you can see exclamation marks (in coloured circles) behind meetings over which you have admin rights. This indicates that these meetings are awaiting a status change. The exclamation mark is shown when:
- the agenda of a future meeting has not yet been published
- the minutes of a past meeting have not yet been published
- the minutes of a past meeting have already been published, but have not yet been approved.
Note: if the agenda of a meeting has not yet been published, other participants will see the meeting in their timeline, but won’t be able to open it.
You can publish and approve agendas or minutes by opening the meeting and changing the status with the button in the gray bar.
There are two situations in which you won’t be able to add a team to an organization:
- You are not authorized to add new teams to the organization. For example because you are only a guest in this organization, or because the administrator of this organization has disabled this option for you in the organization settings. If you attempt to add a new team to such an organization, OnTopic will offer you the option to request team creation rights.
- The maximum number of teams has been reached within the subscription for this particular organization. How many teams you can create, depends on the subscription plan the organization is on.
In OnTopic, an organization can be any ‘regular’ organization as we know them in everyday life. For example, a business, government agency or sports club. However, in OnTopic an organization can also be a collaboration between two or more organizations or even a temporary organization (e.g. for the duration of a project).
A team is a group of people who meet on a more or less regular basis to discuss topics. For example a department meeting, an executive board, a project or a bilateral consultation. A team has permanent members. In addition, guests (such as customers or suppliers) can be invited to a meeting, or even to a single topic.
It’s easy to set up OnTopic for your own organization: usually, the structure of organizations and teams in OnTopic will follow the hierarchical of your organization. Often, separate teams are also created for internal projects.
Also, separate teams within an organization are often created for regular meetings with customers or suppliers. If more or less the same group of people meets up on a regular basis, the ‘guests’ feature is not the best option: it´s easier to simply create a separate team with a standard set of (internal and external) members. This approach is appropriate if your own organization is ‘in the lead’. External guests will find the meetings under your organization’s name. If you want to stress that your organization and the organizations of external team members are equally important, we recommend creating a separate new organization (e.g. ‘Joint Venture X’) for the team.
If you have administrative rights over a team, you will be able to add permanent members to this team. If you created the team yourself, you automatically have admin rights over it.
You can add permanent members in two ways.
- From within a single meeting: on the homepage of a meeting, you will find the button ‘Invite’ (right below the heading ‘Invitees’. Fill in the email address and name, and choose ‘team member’ under ‘Add as’. You may adjust the default role of the team member and choose whether he or she has administration rights over the team. You can also determine the language in which the participant receives his or her invitation. Note: you can’t perform these actions from within a meeting in the status ‘minutes approved’. In such a meeting, the list of invitees can no longer be altered.
- From within team settings, to be found under via behind the team name (in the left column): Under ‘Add team member’, you enter the name and email address of the new team member. You may adjust the default role of the new team member and choose whether he or she has administration rights to the team. You can also determine the language in which the participant receives his or her invitation.
If the new team member is already a registered OnTopic user, he or she receives an email confirming that he or she is now a member of your team. The team will now automatically appear in his or her list of organizations and teams (the left column).
If the new team member is not a registered OnTopic user yet, a (free) personal user profile will be created for him or her. The new team member will receive an email inviting him or her to activate the user profile and choose a password. After activation, the member can immediately see your organization and team in OnTopic.
Please note that a new team member will also see all historical meetings of the team.
An administrator of a team can assign you team admin rights, so you can manage all the meetings, memberships and other settings of a specific team. However, the administrator can also assign you administrative rights over just one meeting. For example, because you are filling in as a chairman for a single meeting.
The check mark under ‘Administration rights’ on the homepage of a meeting indicates whether you have administrative rights over a meeting.
A team administrator can also adjust your role for one particular meeting. If your role in a meeting differs from the standard role, the word ‘default’ will not be shown behind your name and role on the homepage of the meeting.
You can change the status of a meeting with the button in the gray horizontal bar. You can only do this when you have administrative rights over the meeting.
Upon creation of a meeting, its default status is ‘Agenda not yet published’. The agenda will be shown in the timeline of all invited guests (team members and guests). However, it can only be opened by users with administrative rights over this meeting.
When you (possibly after adding topics) change the status to ‘Agenda published’, the meeting will be shown ‘bold’ (meaning: unread) in the timeline of all invitees. They can open the meetings, see all topics and propose topics. They can also create personal notes for each topic, or change the status of their own actions.
After the meeting, you change the status to ‘Minutes published’. Once again, the meeting turns ‘bold’ (unread) in the timeline of all invitees. This way they can tell that the minutes are now available.
If the minutes can be approved (because there are no more comments from team members, or because a fixed period expires), you can change the status to ‘Minutes approved’. In that final status, the meeting can no longer be changed. Approval of minutes can only be reversed by a team administrator.
There are two ways to add topics to a meeting. The starting point is always the button ‘+Add topics’ in the left column. Note: this button is only available when a meeting has been opened and you have administrative rights over the meeting. If you don’t have admin rights, you’ll see ‘Propose topic’.
Clicking ‘+Add topics’ will present you with two options:
- ‘Reopen topics’ will give you a list of topics discussed in this team in previous meetings. OnTopic immediately proposes an agenda, consisting of topics with open actions. These topics are automatically selected to be added, but you can deselect them.You can also re-open older topics which aren´t proposed automatically because they don’t have any open actions. You can find these in the dropdownmmenu. (De)select topics as needed, and click ‘Add’: the selected topics, including their entire history (previous minutes, actions and decisions) are placed on the agenda.
- ‘New topic…’ gives you the option to create an entirely new topic.
When an agenda has been published, invitees without administrative rights will be able to propose topics as well. All users with admin rights over the team will receive an e-mail and can accept or decline the proposed topic.
After an agenda has been published, all attendees without administration rights can propose topics. Users with admin rights over the meeting will receive an email and have the option to decline or accept the topic.
As long as a topic has not been accepted or declined, it will remain in the list of topics at the meeting (in the black left column), visible with an exclamation mark behind the topic name.
The attendee that proposed a topic receives an email notification (if applicable with clarification) when the topic is declined or accepted.
As the administrator of a meeting, you can change the order of the topics by dragging them in the right order. You can do this in the left column.
On devices with a ‘touch screen’, you need to click ‘Change order’ first (you can do this in the bottom of the left column). You can then change the order by dragging and dropping the topics, using the three dots behind the topic names. Once everything is in the correct order click ‘Ready’.
For each topic, the sections ‘Minutes’ and ‘Personal notes’ also give you access to what has been recorded regarding this topic in previous meetings. Of course, this only applies if the topic has been on the agenda in previous meetings, and minutes and / or personal notes were made.
A key feature of OnTopic is that you always have access to the complete history and context for each topic. We feel that it’s important to have easy access to what’s been said about a topic in previous meetings, or what your opinion on it was before. You don’t have to wade through tons of previous minutes and personal notes: direct access to previous meetings and personal notes will increase both speed and quality of the meeting.
In the perfect meeting, one attendee takes notes (minutes) while the others concentrate on the topics at hand. But of course, all attendees need to see what notes are being taken. This is possible with ‘LiveShare’ in OnTopic.
One user with administrative rights takes notes for a topic. If ‘LiveShare’ is on, all the other attendees can see the notes real time on their own laptop, tablet or smartphone. They can immediately react to these notes. Approving the meeting minutes in the next meeting has now become a thing of the past.
If the attendee taking notes disables ‘LiveShare’, the other attendees will see ‘LiveShare is not active’. The attendee taking notes can now make corrections without all attendees watching, and then switch on LiveShare again.
For every topic in a meeting, all actions and decisions can be found in one single view. This way, you’ll always have all relevant information about a topic at hand. With the module ‘Actions & Decisions’, you can also display all the actions and decisions across all your teams and organizations in a single list, and filter and sort this list to your liking.
A member with admin rights registers all actions and decisions during the meeting. This is done under the heading ‘Actions and Decisions’ of each topic.
An action can have 5 statuses:
- ‘Open’: the action has to be completed on a fixed deadline by the action owner.
- ‘On hold’: the action has to be completed someday, but it is not yet clear when it can be started and what the deadline is.
- ‘Marked done’: the owner of the action reports that the action has been completed (the owner can´t choose the state ‘completed’ himself – this action can only be performed by a team administrator).
- ‘Completed’: the action has been completed.
- ‘Revoked’: the action is no longer relevant.
For each topic, you can filter the list of actions and decisions by type, status and owner. You can also sort the list by clicking on the column headers.
Any change in type, description, date, status, progress or owner of an action or decision will automatically be recorded in its history. You can view the history by clicking the clock icon next to the action or decision.
Any user with admin rights over a meeting can edit all fields of an action or decision. The owner of an action can only edit the ‘progress’ field, and change the status to ‘marked done’. He or she can also perform these actions in between meetings.
If you have admin rights for a single meeting, you can invite guests for only one topic or several topics, but also for an entire meeting.
You can invite guests for the entire meeting from the home page of the meeting. Click the button ‘Invite’ under ‘Invitees’. Enter an email address, and OnTopic will check whether this person is already an OnTopic-user. If so, the name will be filled in for you. If the address is not yet known in OnTopic, fill in name, prefix and surname.
Choose ‘Guest for meeting’ under ‘Add as’. When you leave ‘Send invitation’ ticked, the guest will receive an invitation per email. Was the guest already a registered OnTopic-user? He or she will receive a message that your meeting has been added to his or her timeline. Was the guest not a registered OnTopic user yet? Then he or she will receive an invitation to create an OnTopic user profile. When this user signs in for the first time, he or she will immediately see your meeting in the timeline.
Please note: the guest can only see the meeting to which he or she is invited. The guest can, however, see the full history of all the topics of this meeting.
If you have administrative right over a meeting, you can invite guests for an entire meeting but also for only one or several topics.
You can invite guests for one or several topics in two ways.
- From the home page of a meeting: add an invitee, choose ‘Guest for topic(s)’ under ‘Add as…’ and choose the correct topic(s). (This method will only work when there is at least one topic on the agenda.)
- In an open topic: choose ‘Add guest’ and enter an e-mail address.
In both cases OnTopic will check if this person is already an OnTopic user. If so, the name will be prefille. If the address is not yet known in OnTopic, you need to fill in a name, prefix and surname.
When you leave ‘Send invitation’ ticked, the guest will receive an invitation per email. Was the guest already a registered OnTopic-user? He or she will receive a message that your meeting has been added to his or her timeline. Was the guest not yet a registered OnTOpic users? He or she will receive an invitation to create an OnTopic user profile. When this user signs in for the first time, he or she will immediately see your meeting in the timeline.
Please note: the guest will only see the meeting for which he or she is invited, and within this meeting he or she will only see the topics for which you invite him or her. The guest can, however, see the entire history of all these topics.
OnTopic features a simple rights structure. When you created a team, you will have the admin rights over that team. You can create the meetings and manage the team structure.
You can also grant other team members admin rights over a team. This can be done in two ways:
- From within the team settings, with the check mark ‘Administration rights’ behind the team member’s name and role.
- In the home screen of a meeting, with the check mark ‘Administration rights’ behind the team member’s name and role’. When you grant a team member a team member administrative rights there, you’ll be asked whether you want to do this for all meetings, or just for one meeting. When you choose ‘All meetings’, you grant the team member administrative rights over the team. Please note: this option is not available for meetings in which the minutes are already fixed, because these can not be edited anymore.
A team must always have at least one member with administrative rights. Also, you can’t take away your own admin rights: you have to make someone else administrator as well, and ask him / her to take away your administrative rights.
You can never grant administrative rights to guests (for a meeting or for a topic). Therefore, they can never add or edit meetings.