Desktop sharing is nothing new. But what we are seeing in today’s business world is the rapid uptake of desktop sharing software by companies of all shapes and sizes for a variety of use cases: sales presentations by mortgage brokers, online trainings by software companies, client calls by banking and financial advisers, etc.
More industries are quickly realizing the efficiencies and savings to be gained via desktop sharing. If your company has recently discovered these benefits, equipping yourselves with a solid desktop sharing solution is the next logical step. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to understand the basics of hosting desktop sharing meetings with your colleagues and clients – this is what we’ll cover below.
Your First Desktop Sharing Meeting
There is a lot to consider when you first start looking into desktop sharing software e.g. the software features, how much will it cost, who in your company will use it, for what use case, etc. These are important factors to take into account and will help you find the right solution for your needs.
However these big decisions focus mainly on which software is right for you, and this often means that people forget and overlook the other big issue of how to best use desktop sharing software and host online meetings.
1. Send your invitations well in advance
Desktop sharing is quick and effortless – start a meeting from anywhere with just a couple of mouse clicks and you’re good to go. Nevertheless, people are rarely ready to step into a meeting at the drop of a hat, and this goes for online meetings as well. With this in mind, you need to inform your participants of upcoming online meetings in advance just like you would for a face-to-face meeting or presentation. Take advantage of your desktop sharing software’s scheduler feature to prepare and send meeting invites with clear instructions for how they can join.
2. Clean up your desktop
During a desktop sharing meeting, your meeting participants will be able to see most of your computer screen. Whatever you see on your screen, your participants can see too. The fact that you can quickly and easily share any screen content via desktop sharing is the basis of the software’s core benefits. However it also results in sharing your personalized wallpaper and ALL those desktop shortcuts and files. It’s best to simply cut/paste all those desktop icons into a new folder. You can simply restore them later after the meeting.
3. Turn off your phone. Close your IM apps
When you’re hosting a face-to-face meeting, you don’t check new messages or tweets every time you hear your phone buzz. So don’t do it in a desktop sharing meeting. Log out of your IM desktop programs, turn your phone off or put it out of sight, close your email application, etc. – all these things can distract you on your screen or at your desk. If it seems suitable, it’s also recommended to kindly ask your meeting participants to do the same. As they are sitting in front of their computer watching your screen, it’s tempting for them to check their messages but this will obviously be distracting.
4. Introduce your meeting participants
In a regular face-to-face meeting, people might meet and greet each other at the door or around the table as people sit down. However in a desktop sharing meeting, your participants will join independently and are all suddenly in attendance viewing your desktop. It’s very easy to just get started once everyone has joined and overlook that there may be one or two participants who have not met. Wait until all expected participants have joined the meeting and then take just a minute to do a quick introduction, particularly for those who are new to the group. Asking them to introduce themselves is even better because it gives everyone a chance to hear each other’s voices, which can help later during discussions.
5. Engage your participants with questions
In any meeting, face-to-face or over the Web, you want to ensure your participants are following the material and have a firm grasp on the learnings. Otherwise you risk wasting everyone’s time. Don’t fall into the trap of simply moving through your meeting content from start to end, without checking that the participants are engaged and following along. It will help greatly if you prepare some questions beforehand to elicit responses from your participants. You can ask for examples, input or for them to share their experiences. This will ensure that the meeting is a two-way conversation and not just you talking without the participants giving you their full attention.
Regarding accepting questions from your participants, this is also an excellent way to get them to engage with the material. Depending on the number of people in the meeting, you may want to decide on holding a Q&A at the end of the meeting. If you’re holding a desktop sharing meeting with just a couple of participants, then you’re encouraged to accept questions throughout the meeting. But if it’s a big group attending, then it might be best to wait till the end to avoid constant questions disrupting the meeting.
Desktop Sharing for Pros
If you’re experienced in using desktop sharing software and looking to really take your online meetings to the next level, don’t stop here. Download our free guide on “How to Host Successful Online Meetings”, which will teach you the important actions to ensure success at all three online meeting stages: Preparation, Execution and Follow Up.
Discussion: If you’ve recently started employing desktop sharing software at your company and you have something to share from your experience, please leave a comment below to assist the next reader.