Web conferencing is one of the most useful technologies in modern day communications. However, not everyone is making optimal use of it. Despite being inherently convenient and efficient, there are still instances when the benefits of web conferencing are not fully exploited.
The following best practices should help enable the best possible of web conferencing in the enterprise and in other settings.
1. Software/platform and hardware selection and testing – Before using a software or platform for web conferencing, it’s important to have it tested. Does it meet the company’s needs? Is it intuitive? Does it deliver quality sound and video? How about the other features? Are there other functions that enhance the web conferencing experience? Does it properly work on the computers or devices of all participants? The same should be done with the hardware. There should be tests first to make sure that everything is reliable. It would be very frustrating encountering technical difficulties while doing an important web conference.
2. Ensuring interaction – For web conferencing to best serve its purpose, it’s very important to make sure that all participants are involved. Active interaction should be encouraged. There will be instances when some participants would prefer to discuss some topics among themselves first (before opening the topic with other participants in the conference). For these instances, it will be helpful having a private chat feature.
3. Sharing desktops, applications, or site links – Instead of using screenshots to demonstrate or guide web conference participants on what is being discussed, it’s easier, faster, and more convenient to simply use the desktop sharing function. That’s why it’s important to choose a web conferencing software or platform that supports desktop or screen sharing. For the uninitiated, desktop sharing is a feature that allows users to view the actual desktop of other participants in a web conference. It shows everything that is happening on a desktop, just like viewing another user’s desktop through a web camera. When using this feature, though, it’s important to remind everyone to properly organize their desktops to make clear presentations or demonstrations.
4. Efficiently using annotation tools – Most web conferencing software come with annotation tools to easily point things out on the screen. These tools facilitate the quicker understanding of the items being shown, minimizes the need for clarifications, or reminds participants about what the items being shown are all about. It’s advantageous if all participants are familiar with these tools. However, the privileges to make annotations should be moderated to avoid clutter and confusion.
5. Effective web conference hosting – For the web conference host, it’s important to make sure that everyone is moving at the same pace. Consider the possibility that some participants may have difficulties interacting with you. Occasionally ask them if everything being discussed is clear so far. Some participants may have slow connections so they may not be able to keep up especially when there are files being transferred or when desktops are shared.
6. Statistics, polls, and other functions – Many web conferencing software provide a host of other useful functions such as statistics, polls, tests, and surveys. These can be useful in evaluating the web conference session and in gathering more information from participants. This Meeting Success Analyzer feature, for example, is a great tool for evaluating sessions to come up with ways to improve the next sessions or to address possible issues.
7. Recording the web conference – Unless it is important to leave no trace of what has been talked about in a web conference, it’s advisable to have the conference recorded for the benefit of those who failed to attend it. Session recording comes as a feature in almost all web conference software or platforms. Ordinarily, there’s no reason not to record a session as a record readily becomes an instant documentation useful for future reference.
8. Using technical support – If you are using an enterprise grade web conferencing solution, be sure to make good use of the technical support that comes with it. If you encounter glitches or issues, don’t hesitate to contact the company responsible for the web conferencing platform you are using. Why do your own troubleshooting when you are supposed to get quick technical assistance?
Make sure that your web conferences are effective by taking note of the aforementioned best practices. Avoid the difficulties, hassles, or inconveniences. Choose a reliable web conferencing platform, get properly acquainted with it, and learn the art of effective communication leveraged by computer and Internet technology.