WEB CONFERENCING SUCCESS Good Plan. Well Organized. Effective Follow-up

You may be completely sold on the benefits of web conferencing. After all, you need to get the best bang for the buck, effectively utilize human resources  and move your business onward and upward.  You have done your research and selected the right tool but the real effectiveness will depend upon how well you use it.  The following checklist will take you step by step from planning to follow-up.

BEFORE THE MEETING PREPARE A GOOD PLAN

  1. Test the service beforehand and make sure that the details are distributed to everyone expected to attend. A well run meeting means no surprises. Don`t get off on the wrong foot. Make sure all participants know how to join the meeting and what to do if they experience problems. A dry run is always worth the effort. Make sure all international toll-free numbers are accessible. Don`t forget to give referrals for web conferencing services that meet or exceed your expectations
  2. A well-prioritized agenda will make for an effective meeting. An agenda is vital to ensure that everyone knows what will be discussed. Providing background information that is clear and concise also helps you to keep everyone focused on the objectives of the meeting. Begin the meeting by outlining the agenda and the goals and objectives.
  3. The right time makes a real difference.  Schedule the conference call at a time that suits everyone. This can be a challenge if people are joining in from around the globe.  At the very least try to keep it during everyone`s waking hours!  If you`re holding regular conference calls, try to share the awkward times so that it isn`t just one locale that is always meeting in the middle of the night!

ON THE DAY OF THE MEETING BE WELL-ORGANIZED

  1. Designate someone to take notes. Make sure their phone is muted so there isn’t key-tapping distraction. If this isn’t an option, consider recording the call to take notes later.
  2. Start on time. Time is money. Unless you must wait for a key participant, don’t delay the start of the meeting.
  3. Minimize background noise by muting phones as necessary. Have participants do as much as possible to eliminate distractions.
  4. Welcome interruptions – for clarity`s sake. Without the visual cues that face-to-face meetings allow, it is hard to know when someone has a comment or question. Passive participants may have their opinions missed entirely. Let people know that it’s OK to interrupt with an “excuse me,” and then have them introduce themselves so that everyone knows who is speaking. Some web conferencing software allows attendees to virtually “raise their hand” which is useful when large groups are meeting.
  5. Equipment counts. It goes without saying that sound quality is vitally important if everyone is to understand and follow the conversation. Headsets can help to eliminate the echoing and feedback problems that speakerphones can introduce and are also useful if background noise is an issue. If you’re on a budget, cheap headsets will produce better results than cheap speakerphones.
  6. Take a break. For longer meetings, remember to schedule time for comfort breaks. However, if your meeting is going to be long enough to require scheduled breaks, it might be worth considering splitting it up into two more focused meetings.
  7. Have everyone all in or all out. If half the team is present in the room during the meeting while everyone else is on the phone, inevitably things will get missed as those on the phone struggle to follow the conversation happening in the meeting room. Having everyone dial in gives a level playing field to all attendees and encourages everyone to contribute equally.
  8. Set the date for the next meeting. It will save a lot of time if everyone can confirm their availability when you are all together.
  9. Thank everyone for their participation and repeat the time of the next meeting.

AFTER THE MEETING FOLLOW UP EFFECTIVELY

  1. Distribute notes after the meeting. At the very least, you should distribute action points after the meeting. If you have someone taking notes and typing during the call, have them mute their phone — the clicking can be distracting.
  2. Follow up with a note outlining all decisions agreed upon. Most people see meetings as a chore and will stop contributing or even listening actively if they feel that nothing happens as a result.
  3. Sum up decisions and assignments promptly, making a note of
    who is doing what and what the relevant deadlines are.
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