Articles

Online Video Conferencing Tips For Your Next Meeting

by Sara C. Video Chat Room

As the technological curve continues to rise, web conferencing is  increasingly becoming the preferred mode of organizing meetings. It is  convenient, simple and cost-effective; what else can you ask for? But  with great power comes great responsibility, so to speak. If you are the  one organizing the web conference, it could be a stressful affair.  There are a lot of things that could go wrong, and your job is to  prevent all of them. So, here are some web conferencing tips to simplify  your next online meeting:

1. Set your agenda

The first and foremost thing you must do before a web conference  is to pen down the agenda. Why is it important? Unlike physical  meetings, long silences in web conferences could get really awkward. If  you are the one behind this silence, it also gives negative points to  your preparation.

While preparing an agenda, you need to jot down all the points you  would be talking about during the course of the meeting. These points  may follow a chronological order and/or an order of priority. If the  meeting is supposed to be a discussion, some agenda should be sent to  the participants too. This will allow them to come prepared for the  meeting and contribute more to the discussions. A well-defined agenda  serves other purposes too. It stops the discussion from deviating and  also keeps a good track of time.

2. Choose your tools

Something very crucial for a web conference is the selection of  tools. There are a few things you have to keep in mind while preparing  for an online meeting. The first thing is choosing the web conferencing software.  All conferencing tools offer the basic features required, so it comes  down to what specifically you would need. Do you want to share the  screen? Do you want a common workspace between participants? Do you want  to remote control other systems? You would need to first make a list of  your specific requirements and then look for a tool that matches them.

There is also the question of audio/video. Some tools have an upper  threshold of the best quality sound and visuals they can support. At  other times, your own internet connection becomes the barrier. You would  need to find the middle ground between the two factors.

However, amidst all the excitement for the coolest features, one  thing is often overlooked – ease of use. While you have ample time to  know and understand the tools, other participants might not. Asking them  to not only download some rare web conferencing tool  but also learn how to use it would mean expecting too much. It would  either make them lose interest in the meeting or lead to confusion  during it. So, it is better to stick with tools that give you what you  want while also being common and simple enough to use.

3. Test and Prepare

Imagine being all set and ready to give the best presentation of your  life, but then something goes wrong. Maybe the video fails to load, the  audio is not working, or the internet simply disconnects. Web conferencing  might make a lot of things easier, but “safety” is not something in its  alley. As Murphy’s Law dictates, “If something can go wrong, it will go  wrong”. But you have to avoid that anyway.

So once you have arranged everything you need, it is time to give  them a test run. Your internet is the backbone of this entire charade,  so it must be operating in its best form. Then make a checklist of all  the equipment you are using and start testing each of them. Webcam, mic  and lighting – everything should be working without a hitch.

But of course, simply passing the test doesn’t ensure that all of  those factors would stay reliable during the actual web conference. So,  being the smart professional that you are, you must be ready with Plan  B. This should include a backup for everything. For instance, mobile  data could be the backup for poor internet connectivity, the mobile  camera can serve as a backup for a webcam, spare earphones can be the  backup audio and so on. All of the backup equipment should also, in  turn, be tested and checked off.

4. Adhere to your schedule

The single worst way of starting a meeting is keeping your  clients/audience waiting. Nobody likes waiting. This would only add  negative points to your credentials. But making someone wait in web  conferences is actually worse. The reason is pretty simple. Unlike  physical meetings, where the clients are stuck and would have to wait  for you anyway, they have to simply click a button in a web conference  and the meeting would be over before it starts.

So, you need to exercise caution to ensure you adhere to the  schedule. Set alerts in more than one device and be ready for the  meeting before any of the participant. But a schedule is not just  restricted to the beginning of an event. Often people have a tendency to  keep things rolling without a track of time. While what you are saying  might be very important, it is worth remembering that other people have  their own schedules too. Hence, refer to our previous advice about  setting an agenda and ensure that the meeting gets over at more or less  the scheduled time.

5. Avoid all distractions

Distractions could be anywhere, but web conferences seem to be their  favourite spot. Physical meetings usually occur in controlled  environments, where you are compelled to focus and keep all distractions  aside. Web conferencing, on the other hand, is like a regular day in  your space – except with a meeting going on the screen. It is easy to  get distracted, and it takes no genius to realize that this cannot be  allowed.

Distractions not only restrict you from following what is being said  but force others to repeat what they just said and waste precious time.  If you get distracted while speaking, needless to say, you won’t be able  to make your point as well as you had hoped.

So, the next step is removing the distractions. Let’s start with the  devil, the mobile phone itself. If your smartphone is not being used in  the meeting, it is better to put it in DND mode to avoid any  notification. If you are web conferencing on the laptop, close all tabs  and applications that you won’t need during the meeting. If possible,  silence all notification sounds from the apps. Inform your colleagues  that you are in a meeting and should not be disturbed for the duration.  Any other object that could cause distraction, like rustling papers or  creaky windows, should be dealt with beforehand so as to avoid any  disturbance during the videoconference.

6. Maintain professionalism

Web conferencing is a very convenient way of conducting meetings. You  get the opportunity to have the same meeting from the comfort of your  office/home, without the crowd or the travelling. In fact, it is such a  convenient option that we often get too comfortable for our own good.  You know, the “working from home wearing pyjamas and keeping snacks on  the side” comfortable.

Web conferencing is a convenience, but it is not a license to be  unprofessional. Many people try to find shortcuts –like getting ready  only till the waist up or wearing a messy coat in the hopes no one would  notice it. It is far simpler and safer to get ready for a web  conference as you would for a physical meeting.

But of course, professionalism is not just limited to the dress code.  Some people have the tendency to be too comfortable on their chair;  after all, it’s just their own office. But for anyone looking at you, it  leaves a bad impression. Always maintain a professional posture  throughout the meeting and conduct yourself in grace. Remember, the  objective of any meeting is to not only convey your point but to also  leave an impact.

7. Have the right start

Things that start well go well. Often, people are so excited about  hosting a web conference that they simply jump to their agenda. There  are numerous other things you must consider before actually starting the  meeting.

Always begin the meeting by welcoming everyone. Then proceed to check  whether you are connected to everybody else and whether everybody else  is also connected to the general group. Once you receive the  affirmation, proceed with a formal introduction of yourself. If you have  time, or if the meeting is with multiple clients who are unknown to  each other, encourage everybody else to give their own introductions.  Only then you can come to your agenda and announce the objective of the  meeting. If you have certain guidelines regarding how to conduct this  meeting, clarify it to your audience. This approach ensures that your  meeting gets a great start and everything that follows it falls into  place.

8. Have the right end

Meetings are exhausting, and web conferences are not much of an  exception. After a tiring session, which can often stretch into hours,  all you want is to end it and get some rest. While this is  understandable, it is not advisable at all. Just like a good start is  important for the meeting, a good end is important for what follows the  meeting. Hence, you need to likewise ensure that your meeting wraps up  on the perfect note.

As the meeting comes to its end, take the initiative to recount all  the major points and conclusions that were made during the meeting. If  you had kept any questions for the last, now would be the time to answer  them. Inform the participants about the date and time of the next  meeting, if it is already planned. Also, share with them the link to the  recording of the meeting and any additional resources, so that they  could go through it again. In the end, don’t forget to thank them for  their time and participation. Only then you are allowed to end the  meeting. While this whole approach might seem tiring, it definitely has  significant merits.

9. Utilize features at your disposal

A running idea about web conferencing is about how it is done. There  are supposedly some basic steps: connect audio/video, share relevant  files, and disconnect once done. There is nothing wrong in it, but  nothing great about it either. In the past decade technology has  developed leaps-and-bounds, so why would you stick to what you did 10  years ago?

Web conferencing tools  are much more comprehensive today than most people give them credit  for. There is a vast array of features provided exclusively to make the  whole “virtual meeting” experience all the more realistic. For instance,  you can mute certain or all members who are not currently participating  in the meeting. You can put up a presentation on the screen instead of  sending files to participants. You can even give/take remote access from  other participants. All of these features allow you to make your point  in a much better way. At the same time, they engage the participants  better; in a web conference, engagement is crucial. So, familiarize  yourself with the features you have at your disposal and remember to use  them during the meeting if and when necessary.

10. Take feedback

A small, often overlooked, and very effective tip would be taking  feedback at the end of a web conference. This small step actually serves  two purposes. First, it shows the participants that you care about the  meeting and definitely care about their opinions. As far as lasting  impressions go, this is a good one for sure. Second, it gives you  valuable insights into how your meeting went. You get a chance to know  everything that went good and bad for the participants. For the bad  parts, you can actually take steps and improve upon it before the next  meeting.

However, keep in mind that feedbacks must not look like a thesis to  the participants. You should do the heavy lifting in the feedback form:  describing the questions in detail, adding all possible options etc. Use  form services which are easily available, like Google forms.

Conclusion

Web conferences can simultaneously be the easiest and hardest things to do. But with these tips in mind and the right video conferencing tools  at your disposal, the difficult parts might become simpler for you and  help you make the most of your web conferences without any obstacles in  the path.

Source: https://videoconference.com/?p=296


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About Sara C. Freshman   Video Chat Room

8 connections, 0 recommendations, 40 honor points.
Joined APSense since, July 31st, 2019, From Jericho, United States.

Created on Oct 22nd 2019 00:41. Viewed 399 times.

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