Proactive Tips When Hosting a Conference
One of the great discoveries of the coronavirus pandemic was that virtual meetings and conferences could be just as productive and fruitful as they are in-person. Sure, there are some extra hoops you have to jump through to make sure everyone is engaged and gets the memo about start times, involvement in the project, etc. Still, video calls have made meetings more flexible and creative in the last year and a half.
If you are the one running an online conference, you must plan for technical difficulties and alternatives to the original content in case of any unexpected issues.
Let’s dive into a few tips and tricks for running the most proactive conference room of your life, right from the comfort of your abode!
Choose a Software That Everyone Can Use
One of the reasons virtual work can be more complex than in-person events is because everyone has a different level of technological intelligence. Even in 2021, many people only have a baseline knowledge of the internet and computer usage.
Because this can be an issue, be proactive in asking and finding out what software your workers have used in the past to meet online, if any. Zoom and Google Meet are both supremely accessible to a broad audience regardless of the clientele’s ability to understand business technology.
Give the office ample time to look at their schedule and plan for the conference, and perhaps give backup plans for if there are internet connection or broadband issues from the locations that the employees will be tuning in from. It would also be wise to hire or have an IT person on-call to address any variances or troublesome happenings that are prone to happen when so many people work virtually at once.
Make Sure the Time of the Conference is Accessible
One of the extreme difficulties of the worldwide working experience is that time zone differences can considerably strain the flexibility of any kind of online meeting. The first step in resolving this issue is to check in on what time it is for all your clients and find happy mediums for the group on when things should start.
It is your job as the conference organizer to plan accordingly for having one worker be in London and another in Seattle. These significant gaps in time zone can put one person in the afternoon while another takes a shower and gets ready to hit the hay.
While it is reasonable to ask that some of your conference-goers get a little creative when they can be on call for the meeting, it is largely your responsibility to compromise and create the ideal scenario for the largest number of folks involved.
Allow For a Microphone-Only Broadcast
Talking in any meeting can be nerve-wracking for a myriad of reasons and throwing a virtual wrench in the proceedings can positively or negatively affect those involved depending upon their personality.
Don’t force people to interact in ways that you wouldn’t if they were in person. Remember that you are working with adults who know their roles; if someone was supposed to present something, they don’t need extra prodding just because they are online now.
If someone is uncomfortable with how they look on camera, allow the conference to work smoothly with a microphone-only broadcast in which they can speak more to their comfort level.
Flexibility is Key
Modern technology has both helped businesses and made more challenges for the people who have been around the block. The best way to be proactive is to be understanding of your workers and clients, and then change accordingly. If the conference is flexible, reliable, and user-friendly, you have a shot at success!
DJ Heckes, Author