If you’re not holding virtual meetings, you are missing out on a more productive way to reach a widely dispersed audience. A virtual or web meeting can allow you to conduct all the same touch points you’d have in a physical meetup, with none of the hassles of travel. It’s a time and money saver, and businesses are increasingly turning to these tools to streamline their efficiencies.
However, like all tools, you will get more out of them if you understand the best way to use them. We have five important steps to conducting a web meeting. Follow these rules to ensure a flawless, effective virtual meeting.
Step One: Prepare for The Perfect Meeting
The first rule of any meeting is to prepare. A virtual meeting requires some tweaks to your normal meeting processes. For example, instead of setting up a physical meeting room, you will want to check the virtual meeting technology to ensure everything is working properly and your participants understand how to connect to the meeting, as well as how to dial in for audio.
If those working in remote sites have never used a web meeting, coach them on the importance of having a quiet location to connect from. That way you will minimize background noise. Most virtual meeting services offer audio by computer (VOIP) or by phone dial-in; make sure participants understand their phones should be on mute during the meeting to minimize background noise. Depending on your meeting solution, you can typically mute all participants, if needed, from the organizer’s web console, if no one is speaking but the presenter.
During an on-site or live meeting, you may be a bit more casual about the agenda and the materials you share. But a virtual meeting often requires upfront preparation, such as sending out the agenda in advance to ensure that people will attend and understand what the meeting is about. When you have remote meeting attendees, it’s not like you can run over to a person’s desk to let them in on any last-minute meeting prep details.
It’s key to design the data you’re sharing for the medium you’re using. For example, if you have documents to share, you will want to send them in advance if your audience would like printed copies. Or if you have a presentation you have previously shared live, it may not come across the same if you try to share it in a web meeting.
Step Two: Use State-of-the-Art Technology
If you use an online video conferencing company like MegaMeeting, all you need is an Internet connection, a computer with audio, and a webcam. Larger groups may also want a large TV monitor or projection screen. Make sure you ask participants to log in a few minutes before the meeting to check the connectivity of all locations dialing in.
The last thing you want is for the meeting to fall apart because of a poor-quality Internet connection or other equipment failures. MegaMeeting is a good choice for a web meeting because the service uses WebRTC video conferencing, one of the most reliable, secure HD video protocols offering crystal clear video and pristine audio service.
Step Three: Engage Your Audience
In the same way you’d break the ice by asking people to introduce themselves in a face-to-face meeting, you need to engage participants in a virtual one. This is harder during a virtual meeting because participants can’t always see who’s talking or decide who logically should be next. However, you can engage your audience with a roll call of participants. You can make it fun by calling out the participant and asking them to share what project they’re on, or a fun fact about themselves, like their favorite movie. You may start the meeting with departmental or individual updates.
Either way, try to engage your audience right at the start, but also keep the meeting on a timeline. Do your best to stay in control, but don’t be overly controlling. Encourage your audience to share their thoughts at the appropriate time or ask questions. Like any meeting, you’d like your virtual meeting to have these characteristics:
· Participants are prepared and ready to discuss the topic at hand.
· The meeting stays on time.
· People are engaged and participating throughout the meeting.
· Ideas are shared and documented, problems resolved, and progress toward your goals realized.
Finally, you should always try to get feedback on the meeting after it’s over.
Step Four: Run the Meeting
Establishing ground rules at the start of a virtual meeting will help it be more effective. The etiquette is similar to a live meeting, in that you want your participants to give their full attention to the person speaking. Ask participants to avoid distractions like texting, email, web surfing, or anything else. Be aware that when you start the meetings, the microphones can be live, so extraneous conversations between teams in the same room should be avoided. However, many top-end solutions will mute microphones by default to start to help avoid this issue.
Keep in mind that some locations may experience lag related to their broadband connection. When leading the meeting, be aware of this lag and allow a little extra time for people to respond. Ask participants to instant message or use the built-in "chat" feature if they have questions or if they’re experiencing latency. Remember, participants will not be in the same room, so steps must be taken to ensure everyone has a voice in the virtual meeting.
If participants have a video camera, they should always look right into the camera when asking their question or conducting the meeting.
Step Five: Close the Meeting
Just like any meeting, how you close it can go a long way toward making participants feel like it was worthwhile. Make sure you end the meeting with a summary of the tasks agreed on, who is responsible, timelines, and then set the next meeting (if applicable). Make sure you solicit feedback from participants to ensure the next meeting is even more effective.
Ready to Launch Your Next Web Meeting?
Virtual meetings can be just as effective as face-to-face meetings; however, they are usually more cost effective and efficient. While a virtual meeting may not always be an option, it’s a good tool for your planning tool belt that can highly benefit your organization. MegaMeeting offers a full-service video conferencing platform that is perfect for the small to mid-sized business. Contact us today.
Want to try out our video conferencing solution? Just click here and you will be able to immediately start a free browser-based meeting, with nothing to download or install!
MegaMeeting solves the biggest challenges of modern video conferencing. For users, it is an all-in-one platform that delivers both video conferencing and webinars in a single, simplified interface. For attendees, it is 100% browser-based, making it highly accessible; joining a meeting is instantaneous from a single click. For enterprises, it is highly customizable, with white-labeling options for a private branded solution. For developers, it is API-driven and easy to integrate.
Powered by WebRTC, Node.js, React, and GraphQL, it is a cutting-edge platform that is fun and easy to use for users and developers alike.