You’ve made the decision to move your meetings to the virtual conference room, and you’ve already figured out how to start a meeting and invite participants. Phew! That means your work is done, and it’s all smooth sailing from here, right? Well… not quite. But you are in fact almost there. Now you just need to follow the five essential Dos of Web Conferencing which we’ve described below.
1. Think Before You Plan
Before you can even invite people to your meeting, you need to be clear on what your goal for the meeting is. What do you want to achieve? An agenda with all the points you want to discuss is crucial both for your planning process and for the execution of the meeting. Just as important as the agenda is the list of people who will help you achieve the meeting goal. Select the participants carefully. Who will be able to make a valuable contribution? Who can benefit from being part of the meeting? Don’t invite people just for the sake of it. Make sure that you clearly define your goal, your agenda, and your audience before you start the meeting.
2. Set the Meeting Expectations
Unless you and your entire team are old hands when it comes to online meetings and you’ve done this together a hundred times before, it’s a good idea to let the participants know the basics. For example: When is a good time for participants to ask questions? Will there be a discussion at the end of the meeting? Are you going to be the only one presenting or can others pitch in as well? Are you going to send the presentation to participants later, or should they be taking notes on the content of the slides? If all of these things are clear from the get-go, you won’t need to interrupt the meeting later to raise these points. In addition to that, your participants will feel better if they know how such issues will be handled.
3. Keep a Recording
Many online meeting solutions include a feature that allows you to record the session. Make use of this! Even if you keep notes during the meeting, nothing can replace having the actual slides with annotations, highlights, and questions. This recording can serve a number of different purposes, like material for internal training, documentation in case of conflicts, and post-meeting analysis. If you review the process of the meeting a couple of days later, you will be able to judge more objectively what went well, and which points could be improved next time. Recording the meeting will work in the background with minimal intrusion. As a recording can be useful in a variety of ways, there isn’t really a reason not to keep one.
4. Give a Recap
Save some time for a recap at the end of the meeting. Give everyone a summary of the presentation contents and the discussion, and make sure that everyone knows which tasks they have been assigned. Doing this is helpful in several ways. For one, you can avoid misunderstandings. Once the meeting is over and everyone goes back to their individual tasks, a miscommunication can have lasting consequences. A recap can also help you keep track of your meeting goals. Have you achieved everything you wanted to in the meeting? You don’t want to close the meeting only to realize minutes later that there was something you forgot to mention. Finally, giving a summary offers you a nice opportunity to conclude the meeting and thank everyone for their participation.
5. Find the Right Meeting Software
Having the right tool for the job is absolutely essential. In an online meeting, you don’t want to dazzle and distract your audience with fancy technology. The point of good web conferencing software is to facilitate communication. This is why the best tools work in the background, so that you’ll hardly even know they’re there. The content of your online meeting should be in the spotlight, not the software you’re using. Keep your participants in mind as well: some of them might not be as tech savvy as you, so go for an online meeting solution that is easy to use for your participants. They shouldn’t need to bother with complicated installations, special configurations, unwieldy feature sets, or long sign-up forms. The first step you need to take towards a positive atmosphere in your meeting is choosing software that simply works.
The Next Steps
Time to try out everything you’ve learned! Try these tips out for your next online meeting and please feel free to let us know how it goes. If you don’t already use online meetings, you can get started with a free Mikogo account.
If you want to find out more about how you can host successful online meetings the first time, every time, check out our detailed guide on this topic – it’s free! Guide: Online Meeting Best Practices
Now that you know what to do, stay tuned to find out what not to do: Keep an eye out for a follow up post: The Five Don’ts of Web Conferencing.
Discussion: Do you have any tips you think other Mikogo users could benefit from? You’re very welcome to share them in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.