Hosting a web conference can be nerve-racking. Not only do you have to consider the content of your presentation, you also need to ensure that the people receiving it are engaged in what you’re saying, that all the equipment is working correctly, that everyone in attendance has any specific needs covered and so on and so on. The list seems to go on and on.
At the end of the day, all these things can be handled. As the host of a web conference, you should be the person in control but for that to occur, you need to be the one to take the bull by the horns and insure everything is ready to go and foolproof.
However easy that is to say, you can find yourself getting in a whirl when the impending day approaches. How do you know it will all run smoothly? What can you do to make sure it does?
Preparation is Key
In terms of hosting a web conference, it can’t be said enough. Preparation is absolutely key to ensuring everything runs like clockwork without any glitches of hitches which could cause your professional death.
Get a checklist and get checking boxes.
Starting your preparations early means you’ll find you have enough time to get everything covered and a little spare in case of any unforeseen issues. Make sure you invitations are out, your equipment is arranged, your support team are on hand and your audience has replied with their attendance response. Additionally, you need to ensure that you’ve handled all bureaucracy and workplace procedure, such as checking your secure web conferencing tool if HIPAA (U.S.) or PIPA (Canada) compliant if it needs to be.
Furthermore, you just need to make sure you, as a person, are prepared. Have you got a script and notes that have been checked and verified in case of any factual errors? Do you know the script well enough and will it fit into the timeframe? Do you have questions prepared for clients you’re meeting with, and do you have packaged answers for questions they may ask you? Are you confident you’re ready to get this show on the road?
Practice Makes Perfect
Remember when you were going to be Mary in the nativity play in elementary school. You only had 3 lines but you practiced every day in front of the bathroom mirror to make sure you knew those words inside out and back to front. That’s what you need to do now with your web conferencing content.
However, it’s not necessary to known a stiff script off by heart. It is advisable; however, to have detailed notes and practice over and over what you will most likely say when the time comes. You need to ensure that you’re confident in the information you’re providing, you’re able to follow what your notes say without hesitation, and you don’t sound like a nervous 5 year old in the Christmas play.
In addition, you and your audience will have agreed to the allotted time set by you and may only have that slot available in their schedule. Due to this, practice allows you to calculate timings and ensure you don’t overstep that finish line, otherwise your audience will either switch off, or be agitated just to have the meeting over with, causing them not to listen. Make sure you factor in time for questions and answers and understand that people may want to deviate from the topic. You need to be ready for this and know your content well enough to bring the discussion back to the topic.
Don’t Be Boring
The beauty of modern day web conferencing is that it allows you to have all the functionality and interactivity of a face to face meeting but across distances and in a comfortable location. This means that you can’t just preach at your audience.
Don’t be that history teacher from 8th grade whose voice you’d manage to tune out every lesson because they droned on about stuff you didn’t care about. Invite your audience to interact with you, to ask questions and get involved in a debate. By encouraging people to be a part of your web conference, they are less likely to switch off and more likely to understand what you’re saying, take it on board and use that information.
If your audience are conscientious individuals who are worried about safety and confidentiality, just make sure you let them know you’re using a secure web conferencing tool and they’ll be ready to get stuck in.
Get Tech Savvy
Those of you with the luxury of techie handy. Don’t need to worry about this too much. However, those who don’t will want to know how the web conferencing tool they’re using works. The reason for this is that you may need to mute or unmute guests throughout the presentation to encourage that interaction. If you don’t know which button to press, you’ll end up spending your crucial time trying to decipher technology when you should be hosting.
On top of wasting time, not knowing your tool will look unprofessional. Your audience are expecting you to open up and get on with the show, not waste time ‘1,2.1,2.’ testing the microphone because you can’t work out how to turn it on. Get some practice in beforehand as this will allow things to run more smoothly.
Freelance writer, Emily Jenkins, loves to travel. Writing from wherever she is in the world, she has a chance to work in some of the most exotic locations. She finds, though, that she often misses her family, but now thanks to http://securevideoconference.com she understands how to chat to them online, despite the long distance between them!