Online and web conferencing meetings require just as much professionalism as a face-to-face meeting would. Especially if it’s your first time using a web meeting tool, all that prep means nothing if you don’t have a clue about what any of the features do. Let us be your web meeting fairy godmother and sprinkle some fairy dust in the form of the tip 10 tips for running a seamless online event:

1. Set an agenda

A rookie error (we’re guilty) that people make when sending an invite is only including the bare necessities, such as subject, date and time.

Always have an agenda, which proves you mean business and plan on bringing your A-game. This will help keep your meeting organised and prevent it from becoming a free-for-all, with everyone jostling to get their point across.

An agenda also means that everybody can come prepared to the meeting, rather than turning up empty handed. And not to mention it avoids a chorus of peeps asking, 'so why are we having this meeting again?'

2. Know how you’ll connect your audio

Audio quality can make or break a meeting. Make sure you’re clued up on the different forms of audio you can use. When connecting through VoIP be aware that it can be affected by internet quality. Still using dial-up internet, might want to give VoIP a miss. Opt for the trusty phone, which is built using tech specifically for audio quality and clarity. Just something to bear in mind!

3. Be prepared for video

The great thing about online meetings is that you can join from wherever you have internet. We understand that if you’re working from home, it’s tempting to stay in your pyjamas and work from the couch but what happens if your boss suddenly turns your meeting into a video conference?

For that exact reason, you should always be prepared and dressed for video (ditch the dressing gown), just in case. So next time you have your web conference scheduled, make sure you’re dressed well enough to stop your face turning beet-red if your webcam suddenly needs to be turned on.

4. Don’t come on time, come early

It can be a pain to wait for Guests to join the meeting but as the Host, you want to make sure you’re setting the timekeeping standard (Gold standard). So rather than clock watching and only joining as soon as your meeting starts, join early.

This will give you time to figure out how to use the product if it’s your first time, or, if you have used it before, it could help jog your memory.

So, whether you need two or five minutes beforehand, if you’re not rushed for time, it’s always better to be early than on time – especially for web meetings.

5. Take advantage of the features

Variation is a strong trait of web meeting platforms, so whatever platform you chose (a little hint, us) make sure you are familiar with all the features they offer.

After you’ve familiarised yourself with your video and web conferencing tool (before the meeting), it’s always good to take advantage of the full feature set available to you.

Hearing a lot of background noise? Mute your Guests (warn them so they don’t take it personally).

Want to show your Guests what you’re talking about? Present a document or share your screen.

6. Don’t read from your slides

Hate it when you’re in a meeting room with your colleagues and one person is reading off the slides word by word? Trust us, it’s worse when you’re on a web conference.

You may not be able to see your Guests during the meeting and vice versa (if you haven’t added video), but save them the eye-rolling and prepare for your meeting so that you don’t need to rely on what you’ve got written down. They’ll get a lot more out of it when they can engage with what you’re saying.

7. Check in with your audience

If you haven’t turned on video for your web conference, it can be hard to gauge how your audience are reacting or whether they’re actually listening to you at all. A good habit to keep engagement high is to occasionally check in with them and ask for their opinions and input.

Some tools, such as PowWowNow’s web meeting product, even have features that enable your audience to show their reaction to what you’re saying – whether good or bad (thumbs up, thumbs down). Then even after the meeting, you can look at the sentiment given at different points in the call to help you follow up and improve for next time.

8. Do a final check off

Sometimes conversations naturally digress from the purpose of the call and that’s why a final check off is always useful. By cross checking your agenda not only throughout but also at the end of your call, it’ll ensure that everything has been crossed off your list.

It’s a simple step, but it’s very easy to overlook and it’s going to be really difficult – not to mention frustrating for your Guests – if you try to get everyone to re-join your video or web conference just to cover off one final point that was missed. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

9. Send next steps to your Guests

Action items are crucial in meetings. It’s great if you’ve discussed all the points on your agenda but the Host should always send their Guests the next steps so there’s no room for any misunderstanding (or pointing of fingers). With clear outcomes and actions from your web and video meeting, it will ensure that all parties know exactly what needs to be done and by when, leaving less room for excuses!

10. Remember to follow up

Whether you decide to schedule another online conference or to just chat with individuals directly, it’s always important to follow up on the action items you’ve sent out, especially if tasks are time sensitive. Getting caught up with everything else in your job can make it easy for a follow up to slip, so whether you add a reminder in your calendar or write it down on your to do list, make sure you follow up on those action items, otherwise tasks will never get done!

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