It’s important to be prepared for any meeting — and online meetings are no exception. The value of video conferencing and webinars is well established. But online meetings have different things to consider than when meeting in-person.
Users responding to an IDG Research Services survey cited technology challenges, reliability of network connections, and participant engagement as the top obstacles that they face when collaborating online.
This survival guide will help you address issues before they arise to ensure your organization gains the full benefits of online meetings.
Challenge 1: Technology hiccups
Technology glitches are rare, but when they happen, they’re a source of frustration and perceived unprofessionalism. Common problems include lost network connections, platforms that are incompatible with participants’ systems, poor video quality, and lack of user-friendly file sharing or editing.
- Schedule a dry run several days before the meeting.
- Prior to the event, send attendees information on any plug-ins or downloads they’ll need.
- Ensure your meeting solution offers support for mobile devices, easy-to-use desktop or file-sharing capabilities, and consistent audio/video quality.
Challenge 2: Keeping participants engaged
Participants may zone out during a webinar or drop off after a period of time because the meeting lacks engaging content.
- Use quizzes and polls as icebreakers.
- Encourage the use of conferencing chat tools.
- Use conferencing solutions that have markup capabilities and whiteboard sharing.
- Enable screen-sharing and pass-the-presenter options.
- Close with a Q&A session.
Challenge 3: Security
Online meeting tools pose few inherent security risks, but users sharing highly sensitive information may still have some concerns. Nearly 20% of IDG survey respondents rated security of content as a top obstacle to collaborating online. Fortunately, users can take steps to reassure themselves that they’re not vulnerable to security risks.
- Deactivate accounts after a defined period of inactivity.
- Require email confirmation of new accounts.
- Require authentication for access to any personal meeting room information.
- Use encryption technology.
Challenge 4: Getting participants on board
Like any company meeting, encouraging full, on-time participation can be a challenge. Whether it’s busy schedules or technical issues, participants have a bad habit of arriving late or missing the meeting altogether.
- Send reminder emails. Conferencing solutions should offer the option to select if and when an email reminder should be sent to attendees.
- Send simple, step-by-step registration and meeting launch instructions in the invite.
- Send a detailed agenda prior to the call, so speakers and participants are prepared and understand their roles.
Organizations that take the time to understand the capabilities of their online meeting tools and how to use them can minimize hiccups. The result: seamless collaboration to drive real business results.
What meeting mishaps bother you the most? Tell us in the comments below for advice from our experts!
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2 TechSoup Global, “10 Steps for Planning a Successful Webinar,” Jan. 31, 2012. 1,3 IDG Research Services/Cisco WebEx, Cisco WebEx Customer Research – Paid Accounts: Online Meeting and Video Conferencing Needs, Motivations, and Challenges, January 2016.