Business meetings over audio and video conferencing have become a part and parcel of any organization. Gone are the days when only IT giants used to buy online collaboration software to conduct business meetings over the Internet.
Today, even small businesses are realizing the benefits of using collaboration tools for Web conferencing.
The result is the slow death of face-to-face meetings, which we already saw evidence of around four years ago.
- Cisco Systems canceled its sales training in 2009.
- Apple pulled out of its future Macworlds.
- Many companies have even reduced their team strength in the event-and-meeting department followed by a steep rise in virtual meetings.
With the adoption of online meeting tools and software, you can save 50-80 percent of costs, which are otherwise spent on hotel rooms, rental, transportation, packaging, and marketing displays. Hosting virtual events may cost you as low as $10 per day as opposed to an investment of $200 to $1,000 for a physical event.
This means you get the same for less.
However, just having a Web conferencing tool does not ensure success in conducting online meetings.
There are two ways to look at it.
- First, your online meeting tool must be blessed with all the captivating and necessary features for smooth audio and video conferencing.
- Second, the presentation content must be engaging enough to continue an interactive session.
You need to have the right platform to host online meetings with all probable collaboration features as well as adopt well-structured content presentation strategies to hold people for a longer period of time.
Unless both these aspects are well taken care of, virtual meetings cannot succeed. Here’s a list of Web conference tips that you may also find useful.
How to Manage Both the Requirements
Winning businesses over in online meetings is all about how you make communications easier and smoother between your clients and your peers.
Just help them seamlessly collaborate on everything they want to propose, discuss, review, or achieve in the comfort of their own office or even home. And, you are at home.
Given the fact that the nature of engagements and interactions during online meetings entirely depends on presentation strategies, business expectations, and focus of content among participating individuals, it is up to them how they can make the best use of available tools and resources.
The more specific, summarized, and action-driven content you present in a meeting, the higher you can accomplish everybody’s business objectives and thus, close quick deals.
Now coming to the primary requirement, that is selecting the right tool. You cannot compromise on any of the premium features that leading vendors can offer you. In fact, there is no shortage of good Web conferencing tools on the market.
The next important thing in your checklist is how much better you rate an online meeting tool and pick up a suitable one for your business. Though many of us are aware of the nitty-gritty of conducting meetings over VoIP and phone, there are better ways to optimize their usage.
In this article, we will take a look at all those 5 possibilities.
Make Collaboration Simpler, Achievable and Interesting Anytime, Anywhere
Your online meeting software should have them all:
- Full compatibility with all popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that participants use, so that nobody feels isolated
- Support for hosting interactive presentations, product demonstration, and product reviews, or even reviewing business contracts together … all at the convenience of your client
- Ability to record, archive, as well as reuse meeting outputs internally across teams and organization so as to analyze clients’ requirements and feedback better
- Smarter way to upload your own media or add images to your whiteboard from Flickr, so that you can quickly share multimedia contents with participants as references, even when the meeting is on
- Support for managing all kinds of interactions (present, share, discuss, edit and brainstorm) real-time and naturally, as well as the flexibility to go over the whiteboard analysis later for a detailed outlook.
Make the Meeting Room Look Grand and Expensive
Yes, look and feel does matter a lot.
The more you make your meeting room and waiting room interesting and engaging for clients, the better the impression is for your brand.
Adding a company logo, using brand colors and attractive banners for announcements, can make your client think that you have applied a custom design to treat the meeting as a special and serious one.
It is altogether a brand experience that your clients will carry into their next meetings.
That, perhaps with good feedback may help you close a crucial deal.
With brand template suites, you can create unique meeting themes for each of the departments or groups inside and outside the organization, and thus retain corporate identity of your brand.
Enable Desktop Sharing and Remote Screen Control
One of the easiest and most effective ways to increase audience engagement is sharing control among participants.
Remote screen control provides freedom to fellow workers, clients, guests and visitors in how they want to go ahead with their own pitches and presentations.
With desktop sharing options, teams can collaborate on live programs such as product demonstration videos, document review, corporate Power Point presentations, spreadsheet charts, or any ongoing projects. They gain better control over their individual sessions as well as keep the discussions open ended for 360-degree views.
Location, time zone, number of attendees … nothing can be a barrier in getting your message heard by others and acted upon.
Enable the Power of Private and Moderated Chat Session
Online meetings are supposed to be natural, interactive and confidential at times.
Private discussions during an ongoing Web meeting help clarify a lot of questions that would not be resolved otherwise.
In a group meeting, it is obvious that not every member understands each of the discussion topics at the same pace. Many times, attendees are left with unattended questions resulting in confusions and major issues.
Misunderstandings and shorter queries can lead to disagreement on a common business goal. Such communication gaps need quick response during the meeting itself, or else it is difficult to come to a consensus. And that is the ultimate objective of any group meeting.
Private chat option ensures that an attendee gets real-time feedback and reactions on a particular agenda or an action item from another attendee without disturbing others in the meeting room. This helps attendees understand each other’s comments and actions privately and in a better way. This takes online collaboration to a greater height.
Quick one-to-one chat makes conversations confidential, so that issues are resolved sooner and quietly without interrupting the common session.
Apply Language Translation for Global Conversations
Business prospects, partners and peers can be from any part of the world. Therefore, global business communications can be in any language.
Hence, language preference should not be a barrier in online conferencing, especially when the attendees are native speakers.
You need such an online meeting platform that allows members to choose from as many as 50 different languages that they prefer to be translated, all in real time. This removes communication barriers and lets the conversation flow in the speaker’s native language.
As a host of an online meeting, you need to ensure that every member is able to apply the language preference with a simple mouse click on the ‘Translate’ button.
Multilingual chat conversation can also be helpful for customer training and support teams. With instant chat translation service, customers can ask questions, moderate applications, and do more during product demonstrations in their native language. This increases your chance to close more business deals and retain happy customers.
Last but not least, your online meeting platform should work regardless of geographic location, operating system, and time zone.
If your existing online meeting platform has yet to incorporate all these essential features, it is the right time to look for an alternative. Good online collaboration tools not only improve your team productivity but also create an impression of your brand to others.
Meeting Photo via Shutterstock
I would even add how small businesses can use this to meet customers, dealers, vendors etc… as video conferencing has always been about the intercom model.
Great tips, William. It’s also important that those hosting the meeting address and include every participant of the meeting. I represent Mikogo.com and we posted 5 tips to host a professional online meeting. Check it out and let us know what you think! https://www.mikogo.com/2015/01/09/5-tips-professional-online-meetings/