Virtual conferencing has become the preferred communication medium. The old meetings in cramped rooms or soulless offices are gone. Today, with everyone working from home, the meeting has gone digital. While virtual conferences were growing in popularity before the pandemic, it was the resultant lockdowns that forced their ubiquity. However, due to their rapid adoption, many are still unsure about how to best use the virtual conference.
Frequently, people treat them like the meetings of old. That would be a mistake. Instead, virtual conferences call for an innovative approach. Therefore, we’ve put together some useful tips when planning your next virtual meeting.
The Power Of Preparation
We all know people like to ‘wing it’. They compose meetings on the fly. Presentations are imagined moments before they begin. In real life, such a cavalier attitude to business can work. The natural social atmosphere allows people to join in, and for the meeting to flow smoothly. In the online world, such an approach is more likely to lead to a stagnant meeting. Points will meander into nowhere. Questions will go unanswered.
Therefore, prepare beforehand. Develop an agenda, listing the key points and goals of the meeting. Involve the attendees by assigning them an aspect of the meeting to lead. By tailoring the session towards collaboration, you will be more productive and focused.
Furthermore, consider the time length of the meeting. Long meetings tend to lead to boredom and frustration. Instead, assign each point on the agenda a ten-minute slot. Then restrict the session to five to six points. Such a goal is achievable. Trying to cram everything into one meeting might seem more efficient, but quality is always better than quantity.
We’ve all sat in painful silence, listening to the rustling of someone attempting a tech fix. The same thought goes through our heads: couldn’t this have been handled earlier. The answer is always, yes. Yes, it could.
Don’t be that person. Before the meeting begins, quickly check your camera and audio are working. A short video recording or a call to a colleague will be sufficient. Then, if there are any issues, you have time to contact IT.
Additionally, perform a speed test on your internet connection. Video conferencing can place a heavy burden on your bandwidth. Most systems list their requirements on their websites. Naturally, the more people on the call, the more bandwidth will be required. Sit closer to the router if necessary, to boost your signal. Also ask anyone using the internet for high bandwidth activities, such as online gaming or streaming, to refrain for the length of the meeting.
Use The Full Range Of Features
One of the primary benefits of video conferencing is the sheer range of tools at your disposal. Ignoring these and running a dull meeting is criminal. Instead, create a sense of engagement and excitement in your meeting by using the tools available.
No longer do you need to rush around tidying your home before a meeting. Nor do you need to worry about people invading your privacy, snooping at your choice of books. Use a virtual background. With Zoom backgrounds from Hello Backgrounds, you will be able to disguise your home using the latest green screen technology. They have hundreds of options from which to choose. If you want a soothing natural vista or professional home office, they have a photo or video for everyone.
Virtual whiteboards allow people to explore their ideas pictorially to help aid understanding. Draw out diagrams or charts, have a brainstorming session, and use the incredible range of colours to make it easily understandable. You can even have a game of Pictionary to start a session.
If you want to showcase your latest work on a project, simply share your screen. You will be able to talk through your work, demonstrating what has already been achieved. You can also share your screen when you go through a PowerPoint presentation, or to share a short video exploring a concept.
Previously, you had to be in a meeting to get the full experience. If you missed it, you’d have to catch up with a colleague or try to decipher the minutes. Thankfully, that’s no longer an issue. Meetings can now be recorded for future reference. So, if you had other obligations, you can catch up quickly. Such recordings are also useful for future reference, for instance, as training material.
Next time you’re planning a virtual conference, remember these simple tips.