Preparing to Use an Online Meeting Service – Bring Your Own Mug

As the work­force in many compa­nies spreads out and project teams are created that include members from diffe­rent regions, diffe­rent time zones, and even diffe­rent count­ries, face-to-face meetings in physical confe­rence rooms are being replaced — or at least supple­mented — with meetings in the virtual space. So how can you prepare yourself for your next online meeting in order to offer an expe­ri­ence that compares with sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, sharing ideas, coffee and donuts?

Online meeting services make a lot of sense. They are easy on the budget, elimi­nate the time and expense of travel, and can be sche­duled at a time when it is conve­nient for most parti­ci­pants. Online meeting services offer the possi­bi­li­ties of white­boards, screen sharing, and global team­work. Users can connect to the online meeting using the Mikogo soft­ware and an active Internet connection.

Planning an online meeting

When plan­ning an online meeting, you need to iden­tify clear expec­ta­tions. For example, if the purpose of your meeting is to present a 6‑month busi­ness stra­tegy to key part­ners, the meeting will require a diffe­rent itin­erary than one with the purpose of brain­stor­ming the design of a new product.
Here are some ques­tions to ask yourself when plan­ning an online meeting:

  • Will the meeting presenter deliver a linear presentation?
  • Do meeting parti­ci­pants need to speak directly with one another?
  • As the presenter/organizer how do you intend to mode­rate the discussion?
  • What type of infor­ma­tion or resources do parti­ci­pants need to have received or read prior to the start of the meeting?
  • Is white­board func­tion­a­lity required? If so, who needs to be able to write on it?
  • Does the meeting need to be available for viewing at a later time? If so, notify all involved that the meeting will be recorded.

After you have answered these ques­tions, you are in a good posi­tion to get started with your online meeting service and invite your participants.

You will need to provide atten­dees with ample noti­fi­ca­tion and the neces­sary creden­tials to join the meeting. If online meetings are new for your employees, you will need to be prepared to offer assis­tance to those who need it. Some employees might even be reluc­tant to parti­ci­pate. Encou­rage them by explai­ning the bene­fits of online meetings, both in terms of conve­ni­ence and cost. Be sure to high­light the secu­rity features provided.

Will virtual meetings ever elimi­nate the need for face-to-face meetings in a confe­rence room? While it’s not likely to happen in the near future (not 100% at least), online meeting services most certainly offer a produc­tive, successful way to colla­bo­rate and share infor­ma­tion. The only draw­back is, you’ll have to bring your own coffee and donuts 😉

How do you prepare for your Mikogo meetings? If you have other points that you would like to add, please do so in the comm­ents below.

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