There are many reasons to setup and host a web conference. If you require a meeting on short notice and participants are not located in the same city, this is an ideal format. It reduces costs and improves productivity and you will discover that it is very effective and efficient. There are of course drawbacks to holding a web conference. Keeping the audience engaged and captivated is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome. Listed below are some tips to ensure you have a successful web conference meeting and one that your participants will enjoy.
Use email to invite participants. Give at least 1-2 weeks notice. This will allow your participants to become familiar with the web conference software. Using Outlook will allow their calendars to be automatically updated. Request an acceptance back so you know who will be participating. Include an agenda so everyone is aware of the purpose of the meeting and the items to be covered.
Knowledge is Power
We are all familiar with that statement and it is never more true than when doing a presentation live or online. Not only must you have in depth knowledge of the material you are presenting but you must also be familiar with the presentation tools and software. This knowledge will lessen the likelihood of tripping up and not looking professional.
Practice Does Make Perfect
Practicing will allow you to become familiar with the documentation, the equipment, and the software tools that you will be using. You can even record your practice presentation to review and see where you can improve. By practicing beforehand, you will impress your clients or prospects that you are in control and know your material.
Arrive at least 15 minutes early to familiarize yourself with the equipment and to ensure everything is working properly. Prepare your desktop by turning off any notifications or messaging that may pop up during the presentation. Bring along a spare headset or webcam if it is a video conference. Arriving early will also allow you to get into the ‘zone’ of presenting.
Before kicking off the meeting introduce yourself, your company, and others that are participating. Review the agenda and let everyone know how to ask questions and what is expected from them. This is when you can discuss the format of the meeting, for example, is there a time for open chat. Is private chat acceptable? Letting everyone know the rules and format will keep the meeting on topic and on time.
Keep the meeting interesting and upbeat. This will discourage participants from multitasking on other projects. Have some interesting facts and information included in your presentation. Allow feedback by asking questions or allowing comments. Do this throughout the meeting so they will stay engaged. Keep the pace moving along by not staying too long on a topic and move forward to next topics smoothly with an easy transition.
Record your meeting for later use. If a participant could not attend, they can access the recorded version. Employees that were not invited may be interested in the presentation and it could turn into an educational tool.
These types of conferences are great and by practicing these tips, it will ensure that your web conference goes smoothly with few wrinkles. Be creative and have fun but also make sure to conduct a post-review of your meeting to improve on mistakes for the next time!