Hosting a multi-person web conference may seem like a daunting task, especially if it’s with high profile clients or business partners. But there’s no need to worry, there are plenty of ways to keep a video conference interesting, engaging, and on point. Regardless of what device you’re using or where you are located, if you put some effort into following these simple tips, then everyone will leave your meeting feeling like it was a productive use of time.
Open the Meeting in an Interactive Lobby and Start with Introductions
If all your participants are not located within the same time zone then things can get a little tricky and may require a bit of extra planning on your part. Once you’re able to get everyone one the same wave length then it should be smooth sailing from that point onwards. According to Business News daily, once the meeting time period rolls around, you should greet everyone by bringing them into an interactive lobby to complete a task or do something to keep their thoughts on the meeting. Shelby Britton, a senior product marketing manager at Adobe says, “Using a ‘lobby’ with interactive features where early arrivals can wait is a good way to get the audience involved.”
Use an Assistant
A single person droning on about something can become monotonous regardless of how enthusiastic they might sound (a dry report on janitor supplies or other mundane costs can put anyone to sleep regardless of who’s talking about it). Getting yourself an assistant to manage an entire meeting is always a plus. SEO Conference suggests that an assistant leading Q&A sessions and dealing with introductions helps to break up any monotony that would occur from having a single person lecturing continuously. Additionally, they can help streamline the entire process and help you get out of any situation where you might have goofed.
Combine Discussion and Visual Presentation
Simply talking about the subject at hand is never a good idea. You need to bring in some form of visual aspect to help explain your reasoning and keep everyone engaged. It doesn’t matter what platform you are using for your video conference; Blue Jeans mobile video conferencing and other programs have many features that allow you to share your screen or send documents to the other participants. According to Learning Solutions Mag, using annotation tools like highlighters and pointers are phenomenal ways to keep other conference participants engaged and on task. There’s nothing quite like a bright colored cursor to draw everyone’s eyes to the important information.
Keep the Meeting Focused
Personal anecdotes and rabbit trail discussions might be entertaining to many people, but they aren’t very helpful when you’re trying to get serious work done. Regardless of whether you’re hosting or just participating, do everything in your power to avoid tangents and side-tracking stories. The video conference was called for a reason and the faster that reason is addressed, the faster everyone can get back to their own work. Online collaboration tools can help keep meetings organized and direct.
Stay Lively and Animated
The material will not always be exciting so it’s important that you try your best to make it as entertaining as possible. Droning on in a bored monotone is the absolute best way to drive everyone else to daydreaming and nodding off for a nap. You want your participants lively and engaged, so that means you need to be as well. If you’re the host, you actually need to be even more enthusiastic than all the other participants. You need to lead by example, and keep the meeting interesting.
Bring your Listeners into the Conversation
The most successful video conferences are the ones that keep everyone interested the entire time. Employing all the techniques listed so far is similar to baking a cake, but what’s the point of a cake without some delicious icing? That’s where getting the listeners to participate comes to the fore. Adobe‘s Shelby Britton states that, “Studies show that webinar producers and virtual presenters should plan some sort of interaction every five to seven minutes throughout a virtual presentation to keep the audience engaged, attentive, and more likely to retain the content.” The activity can be a poll, a Q&A session or a demo of the new piece of software you’re discussing. Pick some sort of activity that requires the other participants to do something.
Having an engaging web conference that spans the entire meeting length can be tough, however the participants play a vital role in making that job easier. You will need to put some effort into your conference, but once you’ve become acclimatized to the procedure, your listeners will be looking forward to the next conference.