Tips for Hosting a Successful Web Conference

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.

Notification

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 yTips for Hosting a Successful Web Conferenceour clients or prospects that you are in control and know your material. 

Arrive Early

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.

Introduction

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.

Engagement

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

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!

 

Announcing ReadyTalk’s Video Conferencing Beta Launch

Beginning today, ReadyTalk’s new video conferencing feature is available to customers in a beta format.

Make your collaborative meetings more productive with integrated video conferencing. ReadyTalk video conferencing features include:

  • 4 simultaneous video conferencing feeds shared by chairpersons, co-presenters, or participants.
  • Up to 25 participants are able to view the video feeds.
  • Participants viewing feeds can share their own when a slot becomes available.
  • Chairpersons and co-presenters can actively manage the shared video feeds.
  • Video feeds are shared in a film strip next to your web conference content.

There are many benefits to utilizing video conferencing with your exisiting collaborative audio and web conferences.

  • Increase audience engagement by putting a face to your message.
  • Create more effective meetings by sharing non-verbal cues that are often lost in traditional collaboration.
  • Enable more personal interaction between remote workforces.
  • Strengthen customer and prospect relationships.

What does "beta" mean?

Because this is a beta version of the feature, it doesn’t contain all of the features and functionality that will be available at launch. Your feedback is vital to its ongoing development. Please provide details each time you use video conferencing on our feedback form. As a customer of ReadyTalk you can sign up for access to beta version by filling out this form which will grant you access to the new video conferencing features.

Ready to get started?

Easily add video conferencing to any ReadyTalk meeting with simple icon based navigation and no additional downloads required. To get started follow these simple steps:

  • Start by signing up for the beta through the online form. Video conferencing will be enabled for your account within 1 business day.
  • The next time you login to your conference controls note the new button on the top bar labeled "Enable Webcams"

enable webcams

  • Click "Enable Webcams" to launch the video conference for you and all participants and co-presenters. Note: The video conference feature will only work with less than 25 participants in conference.

video conferencing

  • The feeds will automatically launch for your participants in the participant application shown below. Up to 25 participants will be able to view the shared video feeds even if they are not sharing a webcam of their own. Note the video conferencing feature requires Flash 11 or higher, if you do not have the correct version of flash installed you will be prompted to update as you join the video conference.

participant vc

  • To start sharing your webcam both as a chairperson or participant click the "Share my Webcam" button above the video feed film strip.

share webcam

  • After clicking the "Share My Webcam" button you will be prompted to accept the Adobe Flash Player Settings dialog. Click "Allow" and optionally "Remember" to prevent from seeing this dialog the next time you participate in a video conference.

adobe flash

  • As the chairperson of the conference you have a couple additional options available to you from the drop down settings menu next to the "Share My Webcam" button. You have the option of selecting a different attached webcam by clicking "Select My Webcam" in addition you have the ability to keep the webcams on top of other content you may be looking at by clicking "Always On Top".

settings

For more information on this feature please check out the video conferencing data sheet and how-to document. We are currently experiencing intermittent issues with Flash participants on the Firefox browser while participating in a video conference. We recommend your participants use Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Safari while participating in a video conference. To see a full list of our known issues please view the document. If you have any questions about this feature please contact ReadyTalk Customer Care at 800.843.9166 or leave your feedback in the comments below. 

Web Conferencing for Small Business

Effective communication has never been easier for small businesses.

Web conferencing is no longer the sole domain of chatty teenagers, large companies and corporations. Small businesses are jumping into the waters of virtual discussion at increasing rates for good reason. In the U.S. alone, small businesses account for 64 percent of the work force and technology does not intend to slow itself down. The days of brick-and-mortar office work and meetings are dwindling, continuously replaced with virtual commuting and collaborative meetings. The advent of web conferencing is technological boon for small businesses, whether it is dealing with local clients or reaching out through international audio. Here are four ways that web conferencing products can help boost a small business into a more competitive stratosphere.

Cutting Costs

Web conferencing works great for small businesses because the company budgets tend to be smaller and cutting costs is typically ideal. Although small businesses often operate on regional and local scales, travel costs can still add up when the company budget is small. Web conferencing helps trim that portion of the expense budget, allowing smaller companies the chance to reallocate those funds. Besides being a video conferencing option, many web conferencing programs and software offer the ability to share files. Using web conferencing as a secure way to transmit files and other information chops down courier and delivery costs.

Boost Sales

Broader exposure means that a business’ product reaches a wider audience. Web conferencing makes this possible. Virtual communication erases the regional boundaries that sometimes limit small businesses by bringing a global audience to their front door (or screen). For small businesses whose service is not rooted by locality, video and audio conferencing can extend products to the worldwide masses. Web conferencing is a tool that can put small businesses on an international stage.

Improve Office Relations

Small businesses can technically employ up to 500 employees, by U.S. federal standards and retain its qualified designation. That means many different personalities may have to communicate with each other. Even when office staff is much smaller, internal office communication is important because how employees relate affects overall productivity and morale. Web conferencing gives small business employees a safe forum to engage, exchange ideas and foster better professional relationships.

Improves Work Flow

Companies do not like to lose talented employees and small businesses typically cannot afford to. When valuable staff has to address external emergencies and situations that keep them offsite, web conferencing could be a viable win-win solution. Web conferencing gives homebound employees the chance to complete their work. Remote workers can make the best use of their time and work when they can be most productive. This keeps displaced staff in the office loop and small businesses in tip-top productive shape.

 

Six Benefits of Web Conferencing

 

6 Benefits of Web ConferencingWith an estimated 53% of senior managers and CEOs moving toward increasing their remote worker capabilities, web conferencing services are becoming of greater importance in the business world.  Collaboration is necessary for maximum output on projects and web conferencing allows this simply and cost-effectively.  Choosing the appropriate web conferencing software will increase both your productivity and your bottom line.  

  1. Conferencing Service Makes Collaboration Easy
    Hiring remote employees and telecommuting is becoming more and more popular in the changing world of business.  Not only can it be more cost effective, it can also increase productivity.  There are times however, when the team needs to be brought together to collaborate, and a conferencing service makes said collaboration easy.
     
  2. Ease of Connectivity 
    With web conferencing, there is no need for expensive overhead projectors or other equipment.  An internet connection and a device with webcam and microphone are all that’s needed for connectivity.  Most people already have this standard equipment so there is no capital investment required.
     
  3. Increased Engagement
    Putting a face to the people involved inspires a team environment and increases engagement.  Despite working out of a traditional office environment, people that feel part of a team and are actively engaged tend to produce at much higher rates than those that are totally isolated.

    Being able to see non-verbal cues leads to better understanding of what’s being communicated and leads to less misunderstanding than typical messaging formats can.  Web conferencing also inspires remote workers to engage on a more personal level and become more interactive which will increase productivity.
     

  4. Cost Savings
    When requiring collaboration on projects, web conferencing offers travel-free meetings.  The cost benefit to the employer in travel alone is incredible.  Add to that the time saved and the return on investment is ten-fold.
     
  5. Increased Productivity
    Employees that work remotely are almost always more productive than those who work in a restrictive office environment.  Adding web conferencing services adds an element of accountability to the equation and encourages even higher productivity.  When people are part of a team and their collaboration is necessary for the team’s success, regular meetings are a way to make sure everyone is progressing well towards the common goal.
     
  6. Recording Capabilities
    With the right web conferencing service, you can record the meetings you’ve held for future reference.  This can be an invaluable resource for training purposes, client interaction and employee skill building.  It is also a handy service to rely on in the case of accountability issues, and ensuring your employees are working productively.