Live Meeting can change the way you do business – it helps you feel more connected than just an audio call. However, there are some challenges if you don’t use it too often, or have never used it before.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most from Live Meeting.
Audio is typically the biggest challenge. Either people can’t hear you because you’re too quiet or everyone else is too loud. Both of these issues are easy to fix.
Wear a headset so that your voice comes over loud and clear. A microphone and speakers are a bad combination. A microphone picks up everything it hears, including your speaker. This can result in either an annoying echo or the deafening squeal of feedback.
The second problem is a little more difficult to solve. It’s hard to hear the presenter when you hear everyone else typing, breathing, carrying on other conversations, etc. Make sure everyone knows how to use the mute button. I can tell you from experience that it’s apparently not as intuitive as you’d think.
You can usually mute others using your audio conferencing system. I have done this when the meeting is pure presentation mode. For interactive meetings, I prefer that each individual mute their own phones so that they can still participate if they so desire. This means doing a housekeeping chore in the beginning, reminding everyone how to mute. You can even add a slide that you put up before the meeting starts.
Oh – and remember to fix the audio so that callers are NOT announced as they join if the meeting is large. For smaller meetings, when you want to make sure that everyone is on audio before you start, don’t select that option.
Your PowerPoint transitions and videos may not appear quite as snazzy on everyone else’s machines. While Live Meeting makes it easy to share those files with people, not everyone has the same set-up that you do. Try to figure out what everyone’s computer is capable of, and make sure that the person with the least powerful machine and smallest screen can still see the show.
Sometimes the issue isn’t the computer, but the process of streaming the slides or video. If it’s a critical presentation, you may want to get a second laptop and use it to connect to your meeting as an attendee. That way you can see what everyone else sees.
Get a helper
If you’re new to Live Meeting and it’s a critical presentation, get someone to join you as a presenter to run the technical part of the meeting. You can also use this person to answer any technical questions that people may have. You know how it goes: the more important the meeting, the more likely it is that someone will have technical problems.
Don’t give up
Running a Live Meeting is a little different than running a face-to-face meeting. If your first meeting was a little rough don’t get discouraged. It gets easier over time. In fact, you’ll probably have it down after just two or three meetings.
Meanwhile, you can find several articles on the finer points of Live Meeting in your company’s version of the Hub. You can also find more information on Office Online, including some training webcasts. There’s even a few live webcasts scheduled for October 22 and October 23, 2009. They will be available on-demand after the session.