If you’ve ever thought about hosting an online meeting, but decided against it for whatever reason then this post is for you. There are a lot of misconceptions about online meetings. Whether you’ve thought about hosting one or dreaded the thought of being invited for one, we here at Mikogo want you to know that online meetings aren’t as bad as these 7 common misconceptions might make you think!
Misconception #1: Online meetings are only for sales
Sure, online meetings are great for sales; in fact, Mikogo is utilized by many in sales due to our HTML Viewer. Yet, that’s not the only thing that they can be used to do. You could use an online meeting to train new employees. For companies that have a corporate headquarters that is separate from the branch that hired the new employee, an online meeting for training purposes can save considerable travel time and money. Online meetings can also be held by remote teams in order to keep everyone informed about the project. Furthermore, online meeting software can be used with customers long after the sales pitch stage. For example, lawyers meet online with clients to talk them through legal documents, architects present large CAD drawings over the Internet, software companies remotely training their clients in using their products via online meetings, etc. And the list of further such examples can go on, and on, and on…
Misconception #2: Online meeting software is hard to install and use
In the past, and still in some companies today, people would have to setup a range of hardware (e.g. conference bridges) in order to host conference calls and online meetings. There was also a lot of configuration on the software side due to complex network settings or firewalls. Those days are well and truly behind us as we’ve seen the world of online meetings do away with such cumbersome hurdles. Now, online meeting software is not at all hard to install. For instance, a presenter looking to host an online meeting just downloads and runs a small file on their computer – no complicated installations. Participants looking to join the meeting can do so via a browser, and in some cases this is 100% browser-based with no downloads. Furthermore, hosts and participants meet online using a mix of PC, Mac, or Linux computers. Mikogo, for example, is cross-platform. The host can start a meeting from a PC, Mac, or Linux computer and participants can join from any platform of their choice – even from smartphones or tablets.
Misconception #3: Online meetings don’t accomplish anything
Online meetings often get placed into a bad light because of the freedom it gives the participants. Think about it. If you’ve ever attended an online meeting, webinar, or any sort of online presentation, chances are that you didn’t necessarily devote your full time and attention to the presenter. You probably checked your email or worked on a project that may or may not have been related to the subject presented during the online meeting. Because online meetings allow a certain degree of multitasking freedom, they are often given a lot of scrutiny. Some people don’t believe that anything can be accomplished since there is no captive audience.
That’s just not true. Yes, people may multitask. Yes, you might run the risk of those invited tending to other projects. However, online meetings present the opportunity of working with a worldwide team. People can attend from their location. That’s a great thing. That means it is less likely that those in attendance won’t have the important documents that they needed – and if someone doesn’t have a copy, it’s easy to share online.
Misconception #4: Online meetings are impersonal
This is probably one of the worst misconceptions about online meetings although it’s easy to understand why people have it. If you work for a large organization that hosts online HR trainings, then it’s easy to think that online meetings are impersonal. You’re involved in an online environment with a lot of other people. The presenter doesn’t necessarily know that you are in attendance. They probably aren’t the person in charge of checking the roster.
However, online meetings do not have to be impersonal experiences. If you will be presenting during an online collaboration session, you can choose to take actions that will personalize the experience. One thing you can do is ask people by name if they have any questions or comments. You do not have to and should not wait until the end of the meeting to take questions. People might forget. People might just be ready for it to be over so that they can move on to other things. An “ask question” or “raise hand” function in the software is a great way to keep an eye on whether anyone wants to talk mid-meeting.
You can also welcome people by name as they join. This doesn’t have to be anything extensive. You can just let people know that you are glad that they are part of the meeting.
Misconception #5: Hosting an online meeting is expensive
This might be true if you don’t already have access to needed technology such as a desktop computer or a laptop, or you need to pay for the Internet connection. Even then, online meetings are certainly less expensive than traveling. Most online meeting software companies, like Mikogo, operate on the SaaS leasing model. This means you don’t pay large amounts of money outright but rather, purchase licenses to use it. This makes it very inexpensive. The better question is whether a business can afford not to use online meetings. Even now that economies around the world are recovering, it’s important to have good business practices that save money. Using online meeting software is one way that companies of any size can save money.
Misconception #6: Online meeting software has limited uses
We live in a world where we want to do more with less… and that’s a good thing! Online meeting software can help you do more with less. It’s not just for online team meetings and online sales presentations. Online meeting software can do more. You could use it for remote access. If you have remote workers, you could use the software to virtually meet them and discuss anything. You could use it for new employee training and record the session. Then, you’ve saved yourself time the next time you hire a new employee. They can watch the recorded session and have access to it when they need it.
If you’re looking for further clever uses for online meeting software, click here. This free guide details the value that this software creates for financial advisors, employment agencies, accountants, architects, web designers, PR consultants, and more.
Misconception #7: You can’t control an online meeting
To some degree, that’s true simply because you can’t necessarily control another person particularly when they aren’t in the same room with you. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that you must learn to trust the professionals that you invited to the meeting. It’s also important to remember that people learn in different ways. While some people may not be adept at multitasking, some people can do two or more things at once with little or no problem. As a professional, you expect others to trust that you will deliver on your promises. An online meeting is no different. You must trust that people who will attend are there in their professional capacity.
Also, there are things that you can do in an effort to boost user participation as mentioned earlier. If you are the host, the responsibility of respecting the time of others and giving out engaging information is your responsibility. So, plan things within the presentation that will give people an opportunity to engage you. In this case, it’s no different from hosting an in-person meeting or presentation.
I hope this article sheds some light on any concerns you may have over hosting online meetings. If you’re new to online meetings, you will quickly discover how easy it is to replace some of your face-to-face meetings with their Web counterpart and enjoy the benefits of online meetings.
Discussion: when you first started hosting online meetings, were you troubled by any such misconceptions? How did this change after a few meetings online?