The ability to host an effective web conference is becoming increasingly important within both business and education settings, but it is reliant on understanding the technology and following the most essential steps for great remote communications. These steps include providing the right equipment, doing the right preparation work, controlling the conference itself, and more.
Read on for a breakdown of six of the most important steps for effective web conferences. You may also like to look at the video conferencing equipment from ViewSonic.
With the rise of remote and hybrid work models, as well as the ever-growing popularity of distance learning approaches, it has never been more important to be able to run an effective web conference. Nevertheless, according to a survey carried out by Wundamail, 42 percent of workers participating in video calls do not actually contribute.
More often than not, the problems here are linked to ineffective web conferences, where the purpose is not clearly defined, where preparation work is not carried out, or where people do not feel equipped to engage fully. The good news is, these are all issues that could be resolved with some basic knowledge and the right actions.
In this article, we will expand on how to achieve great remote communications through effective web conferencing, with a particular focus on six of the most important steps for improving success rates.
6 Steps for Great Remote Communication and an Effective Web Conference
The following six steps can help you to carry out an effective web conference and achieve your goals.
Step 1: Select the Right Type of Web Conference
It is important to understand that ‘web conference’ is a broad term, and there are a variety of web conferencing types to choose from. With this in mind, the very first step to hosting an effective web conference is to select the right type. This will largely depend on what it is you are looking to achieve with the conference.
For instance, if the communication type you are envisioning is primarily one-way, a webinar or webcast may be the ideal choice. A webinar is a live presentation or lecture that is usually streamed online. It might offer some form of interaction as attendees can pose questions via text chats or polls. A webcast is a pre-recorded presentation that is broadcasted to a massive, passive audience.
However, if you are aiming to host a web conference that is centered more around remote collaboration or teamwork, perhaps among work colleagues, a virtual meeting is likely to be a better fit. These allow for more interactive conversations, facilitate idea sharing and replicate many of the qualities of in-person meetings.
Step 2: Determine the Equipment Needed
Once you have a clear idea of what your web conference is going to look like, you need to make sure that you have the necessary hardware to carry it out. Web conferencing devices include high-resolution web cameras, microphones, monitors, internet connection, and even large-format displays.
If you are going to host a live webinar with a large passive audience watching in, it might be better to have a wireless microphone to speak into and an interactive touchscreen to present from. And if it’s a small virtual meeting of five to ten persons, a video conferencing monitor integrated with a webcam, microphone, and speakers might be a better fit for the scenario.
It is vital to ensure that all equipment are connected together, either by cable or wirelessly, for a more stable and smoother web conference. The software of your devices should also be updated to its latest operating system to be able to support video conferencing applications.
Step 3: Think About the Platform to Present On
It is important to settle on a video conferencing software or application that will help to facilitate your web conference. Many companies might have their preferred platform already in place, but it is important to ensure that external attendees are able to attend without the need of complicated downloads and logins.
Some of the most popular platforms available include Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Skype, and Zoom. Depending on the type of conference you are looking to host, you will need to test out the different features of each platform. Some platforms have limited timeframes or a cap on the number of participants, while others might have recording or live caption capabilities.
When you have decided on your preferred platform, you will also need to prepare an alternative as a back-up. It will also be useful to provide links for phone call-ins for attendees who prefer to dial into the conference.
Step 4: Carry Out the Necessary Preparation Work
If you have ever taken part in a bad web conference, chances are the root causes will be poor organization and lack of preparation. This can lead to a disjointed event that may not start on time, have technical issues, or even veer off-topic. When faced with a disorganized web conference, the audience are unlikely to find it useful and you might not be able to achieve what you want.
Planning beforehand can help prevent such problems from happening. To start, you need to have a very clear idea of what the web conference is going to be about and what the aims and objectives are. Next, have a checklist to ensure all the necessary tasks such as finalizing the presentation slides and sending of email invites are completed.
If you are the host, it may be useful to hold rehearsals a few days before to familiarize yourself with the flow of the conference. To avoid any unnecessary technical hiccups, you should also check that your equipment and internet connection is functional before the conference begins. If applicable, all reading materials should also be sent to the attendees ahead of time.
Step 5: Host and Carefully Manage the Web Conference
With equipment procured and preparation work carried out, it is now time for the web conference to take place. It might be more efficient to have different people hosting and managing the conference. This ensures that each person has a clear role to play and dedicated tasks to accomplish.
As an example, the one managing the web conference can be in charge of timekeeping and leading the conversation during the Q&A session. Whereas for the host, they will take care of presenting the content to the audience and steering the topics should deviation occur.
Despite taking all the precautions, there might be a possibility that a technology malfunction will happen. Just remember to stay calm and try to keep the mood of the web conference lighthearted. If the delay stalls for longer than five minutes, you might have to apologize and reschedule it to another day.
Step 6: Make the Most of Your Follow Up Process
The sixth and final step to ensuring an effective web conference is to make the most of your follow-up process. This is a step that is often neglected, and it is a fundamental mistake to do so. If you do not follow up on a web conference, your chances of achieving your aims and objectives are going to be drastically reduced.
The precise nature of your follow-up will depend on the nature of your web conference and what was discussed. To offer an example, if your web conference resulted in clear action plans, you might need to follow up with individuals to make sure they are doing what was agreed. Meanwhile, if your web conference was customer-facing, you may need to follow up with those customers in order to actually encourage a sale, subscription, or conversion.
It is important to be persistent too. A commonly cited sales statistic is that 80 percent of sales require five follow-up attempts, yet 44 percent of salespeople give up after one attempt. The same basic principle also applies to business meetings, distance learning sessions, and other web conferences. Follow up, and do not be afraid to follow up again.
Great remote communication has never been more important, but truly effective web conferences are less common than they should be. Fortunately, by following the six steps outlined above, you can significantly improve your chances of achieving your core aims while also ensuring the other participants take something valuable from the session.
For web conferences to be effective, it is essential to also know about the etiquette of web conferencing to ensure what to do and not to. As for the equipment, you may read our complete guide on the best video conferencing setup. Or discover ViewSonic’s range of hardware and software solutions for your next web conference.