It wasn’t until I had to host my own online meeting that I realized it takes several working components to make a meeting successful. Panic set in as the audio cut out 2 minutes before the start time and attendees’ questions were already flooding the chat. There were too many moving parts; I was overwhelmed. The disaster that was quickly unveiling made me realize I wasn’t prepared.
To avoid this from happening again, I developed a checklist of items to complete before any online meeting and thought I’d share it with you. This will ensure that you are prepared for any hiccups and help reduce the commotion of being unprepared in front of your audience.
Your online meeting name should be both fitting and engaging- In a time where online meeting invitations are filling inboxes, differentiating your meeting from the rest is important. Aside from being creative, your title and content should be consistent as well. This will ensure that your audience knows exactly what they are signing up for all while sparking their interest.
There is a secret formula for sending online meeting invitations- Your invite communication flow plays a big role in the success of your sign-up rate. Personally, I like to create invitations with three components in mind: graphics that go hand in hand with your content, attention grabbing headlines, and meeting details that pop out from the rest of the invite. A good time to send these are 14 days prior to the event followed by a reminder the day of your meeting. Draw their attention and provide as much information as you can without making your email long and boring. Remember, an online reader’s attention span is less than 15 seconds! So, use that time wisely.
Perform dry runs before your meeting- This might sound tiresome, especially if you host online meetings often, but doing dry runs help anticipate and prepare for the worst. For example, making sure that if your audio cuts out unexpectedly, you have a slide in your presentation that fills that time slot and helps communicate the problem while it’s being resolved. Dry runs also help nail down your presentation and script, contributing to the success of your meeting.
Get a team that helps you run an online meeting- While it may seem like you can handle it all, the truth is, you shouldn’t. There are a lot of small details that need to be managed in the background of every online meeting. For example, having someone that manages the chatroom by answering questions or simply having a second pair of eyes that can catch unexpected errors like a PowerPoint presentation mishap. Having a team by your side gives you the confidence needed to make your meeting a hit.
Make sure you have a backup power supply and your devices are fully charged- Sometimes the last thing in our mind is a fully charged laptop. Don’t let something so small like a dead device ruin your online presentation. Double check your videoconferencing devices’ batteries and make sure to have a backup power supply in hand to better prepare you for the worst.
Create a visually attractive scene for your audience- Is your presentation area clean? How about the background? Your surroundings are important, so pay attention to what your audience is viewing. If you have props in your presentation, make sure they are easily accessible and/or neatly displayed. Adding a background like a branded banner will add a personalized touch and differentiate you from other online meetings. And lastly, make sure your presentation area is clean and decluttered. No one likes messes!
Don’t let what happened to me prevent you from hosting highly effective and successful online meetings. Start checking these items off your list before beginning any meetings and prepare yourself against the ever so unpredictable hiccups that come with hosting live online meetings.