When technology meets decision making, there's plenty of room for things to go wrong. Take note of these common mistakes and you should be able to avoid them.
1. Not having an agenda
In order to have a focused and efficient discussion, and to ensure that all the essential decisions are made or points covered, having an agenda is a must. Write up a list of the main topics to cover, and set time limits for each of them.
2. Not following conference call etiquette
Even though you're holding a discussion over video, it's important to maintain regular eye contact, as not doing so makes you seem disinterested or bored. Likewise, just because you aren't in the same room together doesn't mean you can abandon professionalism and eat while you talk, put your feet on the desk, or chat noisily with a friend while others are talking (especially if you aren't on mute). Ultimately, the ideal situation is that all those who aren't speaking put themselves on mute.
3. Not recording the meeting or taking notes
The whole call loses value without a record of the key decisions made, issues raised and tasks assigned. Aim to use the recording feature for your call, but also take notes of the most important things, for quick reference and to ensure accountability.
4. Not using a reliable web conferencing service
There's nothing more frustrating than spending a week setting up a meeting at a time when everyone can make it, then spending the whole meeting dealing with technical issues like lag and voices breaking up. Choose a provider with a platform that all participants are familiar with, or can use intuitively, and be sure that it offers quality video, audio, connectivity and reliability.
5. Not soliciting feedback or testimonials
Conduct a quick survey at the end of the call to give participants the opportunity to mention any issues or suggestions they have. This way you can use their feedback to ensure that each web conference is even more successful than the last.
6. Not moderating the conference
Some participants with great ideas will refuse to interrupt, while others will be tempted to use the conference as their own personal venting session. A moderator is essential to guarantee that everyone is heard and that the agenda is adhered to. This could either be the host or the host could assign this role to somebody else.
7. Not rehearsing big meetings or presentations beforehand
If you're the host, call a few people beforehand to practise and make sure you're completely familiar with the software, and that you discover any possible problems before they happen. This way, even if you're presenting to hundreds of people, you'll be prepared for any challenges that may arise and you'll be able to deal with them quickly and with minimal disruption to your web conference.
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