by Angela Clark-Williams
With the unexpected occurrence of COVID-19 and the sudden impact it has had on government, business, and schools overnight, everyone has had to quickly adjust to holding the typical face-to-face meetings and conferences virtually. It is important that workplaces institute a plan of action to help increase effectiveness and minimize technical challenges for the presenters and meeting attendees when planning a virtual meeting. Here are four useful tips:
1 - Preparation
Pre-planning your meeting and setting a clear agenda is critical when planning for a virtual event.
Determine the meeting outcome and expectations and what the purpose of the meeting will entail. Make sure you follow the who, what, where, when, why, how, and next steps of a meeting. Determine the presenters and their needs. If they have materials that they would like to present in a screenshare, this requires preparing the materials, necessary approvals, and a run through with the moderator. Set times for each agenda item so that the meeting will stay on track and all of the items will be covered in a timely manner.
2 – Equipment
To ensure a seamless meeting or presentation, it’s highly recommended that you test your equipment, laptop, sound, camera, and dial-in number prior to the virtual meeting. Conduct a run through with a colleague prior to the meeting to make sure that any videos, links, and sound all are working properly and all materials are quickly accessible. To minimize noise heard by virtual attendees consider using headphones and avoid putting your phone on speaker. For attendee Q&A, use aisle microphones (for hybrid events) and remind speakers to use microphones while most attendees remain on mute.
3 – Chair and Facilitator
Once a moderator has been designated for the meeting, the appropriate materials need to be provided to them for a dry run at least 30 minutes prior. It’s key to familiarize the presenters on the platform being used and to implement a have a backup plan with alternate dial in numbers in case there are dropped callers or poor connections. Remind presenters to introduce themselves and team members at the top of the meeting and let the audience know if the call is being recorded.
4 – Platform Awareness and Security
Since many new online virtual conference platforms have been popping up, it’s important to provide the attendees with as much information as possible. Know the limit of attendees your account will provide and how many callers can call in. Require a meeting password and sign-in when attendees join the meeting and set up a waiting room where attendees have to be admitted in. Determine who has rights to share meeting content (presentations) to avoid unexpected content being shown to the audience.
Virtual meetings have allowed face to face presentations to continue during these times of social distancing. By being prepared with these tips, your next meeting can be seamless and you can stay ahead of the game and conduct a successful presentation.