Basic Web Conferencing Etiquette
With today’s mobile world, it seems that people can work from just about anywhere. While we are still digging out of the deep freeze here in Michigan, my co-worker will be working remotely for a week in March…from Ecuador! People are telecommuting, working from remote locations, but in most jobs, we can’t work in a vacuum. Whether it’s with your boss or a client, meetings still must happen! An added benefit of using online meetings is cost savings. When clients and coworkers are far apart, meetings can still happen without the cost of travel or travel time. Making sure you follow basic web conferencing etiquette can make sure your online meetings go smoothly.
A web conference gives you the opportunity to either host or attend a meeting no matter where you are. Make sure you are somewhere with a strong wi-fi and a computer with a webcam or screen sharing capabilities. Sharing your screen or going one step further with a video conference creates a more personal meeting, even when you are not all in the same physical location. There are many types of services that offer software for web conferences, and you’ll want to do some research to see which software best fits your budget and needs. GoTo Meeting, Zoom and JoinMe are popular options.
To ensure a professional, productive meeting, there are some basic etiquette rules to follow, whether you are the presenter (host) or simply an attendee.
If you’re the host:
1. Send out your meeting request with advance notice, so that people have it on their calendar. Include an agenda so that your attendees are familiar with the material to be covered.
2. Go over your presentation or outline at least once before the meeting, so you don’t stumble over your words or get off track.
3. Take some time to test your equipment and software before starting your web conference, to minimize the chance of experiencing technical difficulties during the meeting.
4. Background noise can be a productivity killer to an online meeting. Dogs barking, phones ringing, or voices from the room can make it very hard to hear and concentrate for all attendees.
If you are an attendee:
1. Take time to look over the agenda or any other materials that the host sent out before the meeting, so you can be prepared to participate.
2. Log in early, sometimes unfamiliar web conference software can be a stumbling block and you might experience some difficulty logging in.
3. During the meeting, if the webcam is on…pay attention. You don’t want to be seen picking lettuce out of your teeth or snoozing during the call!
4. Finally, remove distractions during the web conference. (phone, IM) Especially if you are sharing your screen – everyone else in the conference will see your messages if they pop up on your screen.
There are numerous advantages to web conferencing for your company, for both employees and clients. And like my coworker who will be in Ecuador next month, most people will agree that technology such as web conferencing allows for effective communication from just about anywhere. Following basic etiquette rules while you are conferencing with clients or coworkers helps maintain a positive atmosphere and build/maintain solid relationships even when everyone is not in the same location.
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