Web Conferencing Etiquette 101 4/16/14
There are an increasing number of web conferencing meetings going on today. Driven by the advances in high speed access and Cloud Computing, you can hold a web meeting with video, web cams, HD audio, screen sharing, chat, polling, and voice conferencing for pennies on the dollar. My company now offers a web conferencing solution starting at $10 per month http://.bestwebdemo.com ). You can take a no-risk free trial by going to http://bestwebdemo.com/free-trial .
Even though a web conference is effective in getting people to collaborate from remote locations, I have noticed that the effectiveness of the meetings are hampered by attendees not following proper web conferencing practices. I do not think that people realize how powerful this new technology really is. For example, I sat on a web conference where one of the attendees was at home and was doing his laundry. The mic was picking up all of the background noise and it was very disruptive to the meeting. I attended another meeting where a woman was babysitting her kids who were playing in the background. We could hear all of the yelling and crying in the meeting. Sound familiar? I’m sure everyone has a web conferencing story which they could tell.
Listed below are some common problems and ways to alleviate those problems by establishing some simple rules for web meetings:
1. Issue: Web Meeting never start on time and there are always people entering the meeting late.
Solution: Ask people to log in to the web meeting 5 minutes before the meeting starts to test their connection and make sure they can see the screens and audio. Most web conferencing solutions require that you download an applet to attend the meeting. This applet has a variety of things it does including connecting you with the right internet address, securing the connection, validating your attendee login credentials, etc. The most troublesome check is to verify your audio connection since there are so many different audio drivers to deal with. You will need to check to see if your audio drivers are correct to hear the meeting. Turn off new attendee notification in your meeting host setting. This will stop the announcement of people entering the meeting during the meeting.
2. Issue: Attendees complain they cannot log into the meeting or audio service.
Solution: Meeting hosts should also send out a meeting notice with login information and agendas. It is a good practice to send the notifications out several times to ensure that attendees are reminded of meeting times and instructions. It is also nice to include clickable links so they can just click on the link and they are taken to the meeting sign-in URL. Double-check all the links to ensure they are working prior to the actual meeting.
3 Issue: Background noise from attendee is disruptive to meeting.
Solution: Mute all attendees at start of meeting. Have attendees unmute themselves when they want to talk or have them raise their hand if they want to be unmuted. Use the chat feature to communicate with attendees instead of using voice. Another suggestion is to have attendees use headsets (with speaker) to attend meeting. A good headset with noise cancellation is a good way to eliminate voice echo and background noise. It is also advisable to attend meetings from a quiet place with minimal background noise.
4. Issue: You are hearing voice with an echo.
Solution: This is very common problem created by proximity of 2 mics from different sources (computer and telephone). An easy way to address this is to mute one of the connections (Ex: Use the telephone and mute the computer mic). Ask the meeting host to mute all attendees since you could be picking up an echo from another attendee.
5. Issue: Background images are disturbing meeting.
Solution: Ask attendee to disable their webcam and mute sound. Remind attendees that this is a business meeting where proper business practices should be followed. This is a very sensitive issue since attendees sometimes do not know what is going on in the background. I personally always let anyone in general area know that I am broadcasting from my webcam so they know in advance they may be on a live web feed which in some instances is being recorded.
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