Web conferencing This is how a video meeting works (Part II)

Video conferences move from the boardroom to the open-plan office, from the company to the start-up – in the form of integrated collaboration platforms for everyday work. Used correctly, these new tools can give small businesses a competitive advantage, network freelancers in agile workgroups, or simply make it easier to put together the best possible team.

In the first part you learned what you need to consider when purchasing and setting up a video collaboration workstation. The following is about successfully conducting a video conference – and opportunities, especially for smaller companies, to impress with a confident virtual appearance.

Just like in traditional meetings, it’s the little things and good preparation that make a web conference impression. Practice makes perfect here, too, but if you take these tips to heart, you will often be one step ahead of most colleagues and customers.

1. Prepare virtual meetings

A well-prepared, formal video conference always makes a professional impression and guarantees a productive meeting in which no one is neglected. The nice thing about web conferences, however, is that they are not only intended for large and important meetings, but are just as suitable for short conversations with colleagues. And the more often you use it informally, the more confident you appear when it comes down to it – even without a lot of preparation.

At the beginning there is always the creation of the meeting or meeting room with the web conference software – or the use of a permanent, personal virtual room (with a direct link that can be used in the e-mail signature, for example).

Then it’s time to invite by email / calendar. If you suspect that someone is using the system for the first time, simply attach instructions to the invitation that briefly describe how to get to the meeting and what technical equipment is needed (or not needed!). For important meetings and especially inexperienced users, it can be worthwhile to meet briefly in private beforehand in the virtual meeting room in order to eliminate uncertainties.

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Put all the documents you need for the meeting together – ideally in a separate folder. Avoid the temptation to trust that you will find the right document during the meeting. That looks unprofessional and can go wrong quickly. If possible / appropriate, upload the relevant documents to the virtual meeting room before the start of the meeting (for example, the agenda or a PowerPoint presentation could appear on the screen from the start).

Go to the virtual meeting room in good time or a little before the start of the meeting to greet participants and make sure that everything works.

2. Conducting virtual meetings professionally

If you are good at leading “normal” meetings, then the virtual variant will not be difficult for you either. Just like traditional meetings, but much less so than conference calls, web conferences want to be moderated. Moderating in video or web conferences is different and you have completely different, new tools at hand. It’s best to start by familiarizing yourself with these tools – mute button, admin controls, layout settings. Usually all of this is intuitive, but it never hurts to make sure of all the buttons and levers like a pilot before taking off.

Take an active role during the meeting and make sure everyone can see and hear each other at all times. Feel responsible for the technically smooth process (“Ms. Schmidt, I think your microphone has been unplugged”; “Martin, we can no longer see you, you have just moved out of the picture with your chair”; “I will now briefly mute all of your microphones so that I can explain the document to you word for word ”).

At the beginning of the meeting, determine the best way to speak up, but also keep an eye out for the usual signals to speak during the meeting (lean forward, hesitantly raise your hand).

Use visual aids to guide the meeting and keep the group focused. Depending on the software, whiteboard, presentation, document and screen sharing are available within the virtual environment.

In order to help participants discreetly with technical problems, private chat functions or instant messengers are suitable (video conference newbies sometimes have to be reminded that they are in the picture!).

And last but not least, don’t forget that you are sitting in front of the camera – as a presenter, all eyes are usually on you! See it as an opportunity to make a real impression.

More articles in this series:

Web conferencing: this is how a video meeting works! (Part One)

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