If, prior to this year, you conducted majority of your meetings face-to-face, you have no doubt had to adjust to the new reality of web conferencing. One thing you may have realized is that you need to put the same amount of preparation in your online meetings just as you would your face to face meetings.
Because of the technical aspects involved and the fact that meeting participants are sitting in different places, web conferencing probably takes more preparation. Some aspects of it are challenging. For instance:
- Technology fails, e.g sound and video
- Lack of a technical team
- Poor turnout, as people adjust to online meetings
But if there’s one thing we can learn from one group of scientists who previously conducted their research presentations offline, it’s that these challenges shouldn’t stifle you.
The scientists have found great success with online conferencing, with some even saying that “it offers a better experience” than offline conferences. All it takes is preparation and an AI tool like Aira to facilitate the technical side.
In this article, we will discuss tips for successful web conferencing. What can you do to prepare for a seamless online meeting? Read on for more.
1. Start with an agenda
Are you guilty of sending a meeting invite that only includes the meeting subject, time of the meeting and date? If yes, you are wasting a key opportunity to communicate vital information with your audience.
- A meeting invite that has an agenda will ignite more interest in the recipients
- Recipients can also go through the agenda and decide from the get-go whether the meeting is important to them or not
- People can prepare based on agenda items, thus making your meetings more engaging and successful
2. Work on audio quality
Audio is the most important aspect of web conferencing. Without audio, people cannot hear each other. In the process, important information is missed. This then leads to frustration, loss of interest and eventually, people jump off the call. As such:
- Test audio quality ahead of time and ask participants to do so as well
- If your internet connection tends to be slow, work on a backup internet connection in advance
- Have your phone as a backup in case all else fails
3. Prepare for video
You probably don’t observe a very strict dress code when working from home. Do you work in a t-shirt and jeans, or worse, pajamas?
This might be okay if you are not going to interact with your workmates. However, you may not want to turn up for a conference call in your pajamas. Web conferencing almost always involves video. Therefore, be prepared and dress the part.
4. Turn up early for your meeting
Since you are hosting the meeting, you must log in early for the following reasons:
- Turning up early for your meetings sets a high punctuality standard. By the way, punctuality is a great way to stand out as a future leader in your company
- In case of any technical problems, you can catch and troubleshoot them early
- You will brush up on your meeting preparation by zeroing in on the agenda items a bit more
5. Choose a tool with high-end features
Your web conferencing tool should enhance your meeting experience, not merely give you an audio and video platform.
You and your team are busy professionals, and all probably have steep targets. The last thing you want therefore, is to be deal with additional meeting-related tasks.
As much as meetings are important for conducting business, meeting-related tasks can consume a lot of your time. Therefore, your meeting tool of choice should ease those tasks.
Take AIRA, for example. It is a smart meeting tool that has these powerful features:
- It records and stores meetings notes and thereafter disseminates them
- It can recognize human speech and its nuances, hence all recordings are highly accurate
- It uses keyword recognition, which makes searching through meeting notes a lot easier
Another great benefit of Aira is that if you or any of the other participants are travelling or cannot access their desktop, they can log in on their phones, or have Aira attend the meeting on their behalf.
6. Prepare: Research and internalize your content
If you don’t prepare, you will end up reading every word from your slides. This is why you shouldn’t read from your slides:
- You will appear ill-prepared for your meeting, in which case, why should anyone else be prepared?
- You will also come off as though you aren’t an expert in your subject matter
- There will likely be reduced level of engagement when all you are doing is reading in prose form
7. Do a “temperature check” during the meeting
When web conferencing, it’s important to “go around the table” after some time has elapsed, just to be sure that you still have everyone’s attention. You can, for instance, ask a question and then get answers from each person. You can also randomly ask for opinions on different areas from team members.
8. Tick off agenda items
Conversations are likely to digress during your web conference. As such, you could end up losing track of the meeting agenda items. Therefore, as you go along, tick off agenda items. Recap that item as you do so, so that people know that you are moving on
Ticking off items:
- Redirects attention back to the meeting items. If for some reason someone wasn’t paying attention, they are likely to listen very closely to subsequent agenda items.
- Helps to manage meeting time. You don’t want a meeting that prolongs unnecessarily because of interruptions.
That said, Aira can help you minimize participant interruption, keeping your meetings more focused and productive.
9. Send meeting notes and action items
Remember how we said above that Aira takes meeting notes for you? Well, that includes action items. More so, if you have enabled the right settings, Aira can automatically email notes and action items after every meeting, saving you from having to do so.
10. Follow up
Keep the momentum around the discussed topic alive by following up with meeting participants after the meeting. Individual follow up is always advisable as this way:
- You can build a sense of urgency if an action item isn’t completed and yet you are too close to deadline
- You can get a feel of any challenges that individuals have, and put measures in place to assist them
Web conferencing is now an inevitable part of our lives. As you plan your next meeting, take note of the 10 tips discussed above and implement them for greater success.