6 tips for online conferencing

If your are not using online conferencing in your business you should investigate some of the widely available Apps which allow you to work with colleagues, clients and customers wherever you are.

Google hangouts and online conferencing

We now longer need to be tied to the office to conduct effective and efficient business meetings and often we can avoid the time, hassle, cost and carbon footprint implications of travelling to meetings – especially if we have already met face-to-face.

Free applications such as Skype, Google Hangouts and FaceTime are familiar to private users and can be equally effective in business. Specialist business Apps, sometimes paid for are designed more for meetings rather than than just conversation. As with any technology, an App’s effectiveness in your business depends as much on how it used as the functionality it provides.

Here are 6 tips for online conferencing:

1. Behave as you would in a face-to-face meeting – Make sure your webcam and microphone are on and start with a few minutes of casual conversation to put everyone at ease and check that everything is working

2. Circulate an agenda in advance – make sure it has hyperlinks where possible to allow everyone to prepare for the meeting with convenient access to documents, spreadsheets, presentations and websites under discussion

3. The role of the chair of an online meeting is crucial – instead of relying on body language and eye contact of those sitting around the table, contributions and opinions must be actively sought, rather than passively received. If the meeting is to be recorded (video/audio) all participants should give consent

4. Turn off webcams – when the formal part of the meeting starts users can be invited to turn-off their webcams, especially if their broadband speeds are slow. You will probably wish to display useful documents etc on your screen instead of your colleagues’ faces

5. Consider working from home or your hotel room – the broadband, acoustics and privacy may be better than an open-plan office

6. Use a headset – even the one which came with your mobile phone can make a vast improvement to the sound quality experienced by everyone, by preventing what comes out of your speaker being picked up by your microphone. Most laptops have built-in mics which will pick up every keystroke which can also be distracting.

Planet First has joined forces with BST Environmental to launch a new workshop aimed at helping organisations tackle the cost, time and carbon emissions resulting from their business travel. To find out more or register your interest please click on the button below.

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