Tips on How to Make Your Virtual Conference Successful
The current state of the world is one where businesses have been turned upside down and forced to change the way they work to accommodate for the new lockdown, allowing their employees to instead work from home rather than sit in a traditional office. The huge number of people who have made the transition to working remotely is staggering, and while many of us by now have been involved in a few virtual meetings, they are still relatively new to most people.
Thankfully, this virtual conferencing technology is by no means new and plenty of professionals have been using it for years. Using their expertise and experience, below are a few tips on how to make your next virtual conference as successful as possible.
Try to hold video meetings
Most experts agree that a video meeting should be the priority above alternatives like text chat and audio-only conference calls. This is because it is often hard for even the most experienced speakers to hold their audience’s attention if they are communicating only with their voice. In order to both attract and maintain people’s attention, if possible, you should always strive to hold video conferences over anything else.
They will not only help your audience retain the information being relayed but are also more likely to keep them engaged and interacting with the meeting in question. Most modern laptops have built-in cameras, and there are plenty of free video conferencing programs available, such as Zoom, Skype, and if you have Microsoft Office, you can also use Microsoft Teams.
Make sure your audio setup is good
In addition to focusing on hosting video conference calls, it is also important that you ensure that your audio setup is as good as it possibly can be. Nothing is more distracting and frustrating in a conference call than someone with a bad microphone that does nothing but buzz or creates static whenever they speak.
It is also advised that you use an external microphone with a pair of headphones, for example, a set of cell phone headphones. The external microphone will prevent background noise from being picked up from your computer, such as the fan, and the headphones will prevent any echoes from being fed back to the other members of the meeting.
Get your content ready in advance
One of the responsibilities involved when hosting a meeting is to ensure that you have any content you may be using at the ready before you start the call. You will need to make sure that any and all files you intend to share or present during the meeting are ready and working to avoid any embarrassment or unnecessary delays that could otherwise happen if you are not prepared.
If your meeting is to have multiple speakers, then it still falls on to the host to ensure that each individual speaker has their content ready and ideally shared with the host in order to have a backup ready in case technical issues present themselves.
Keep things interactive
Keeping the audience or fellow members of your meeting interacting with one another is the key to a successful and productive meeting. This is, unfortunately, one of the more challenging aspects of virtual meetings. When people are not face to face with the rest of the meeting, if they are not directly being spoken to they will often simply keep quiet in situations where they would otherwise speak up. To avoid this lack of interaction, there should be one person in any virtual video conference whose job it is to continually interact with the different participants present.
Simply asking a question or for their opinion on a subject can help to keep them involved and this, in turn, will help them to retain information as well as helping them to feel like a valued part of the team.
Test your setup before starting
In the past, when you may have attended video conference calls, you likely did it from the comfort of a conference room that had everything set up for you by your friendly IT team. Since you will now be at home, the responsibility of testing your setup to make sure that everything is working properly now falls to you.
Luckily, you can test all of your equipment yourself on your computer, but it is always worthwhile to jump in a test call in advance with a friend or co-worker. It is also a good idea to relay this information to anyone else who will be attending the virtual meeting to ensure that everyone has a working setup. This will prevent unnecessary delays caused by technical issues and will help your meeting start off on a positive note.
Use available technology to prevent distractions
Distractions caused by passers-by are one of the biggest issues with virtual meetings so it is essential that you use the technology available to mitigate this. One of the most useful tools for preventing distractions is the ability to use virtual backgrounds.
These backgrounds can be used to hide sensitive information, prevent distractions from people or pets moving around in the background, or they can even help hide an untidy room. Hello Backgrounds offers a professional Zoom background for any occasion and with the hundreds of choices on their site, there really is a background for everyone. Nowadays, virtual backgrounds are almost a necessity when it comes to online meetings so be sure to use them to your advantage.
Give your audience something to take away
Finally, whether you are hosting an online meeting or speaking at a webinar, one of the best ways to make sure people remember you and when you have said is to provide them with something to take away after the meeting is finished.
This can be anything from a link to your content, an offer code, or even just the notes for the meeting itself. Adding this small detail into your meetings will not only increase the chances of people remembering your content, but they will almost always be grateful for the extra effort you put in.
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