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How to Hold a Web Conference


Meeting The ability to virtually link training groups or work teams through web conferencing allows real-time collaboration, while avoiding the hassle of travel arrangements and putting less strain on people's diaries.

Web conferencing technology also offers trainers the ability to respond quickly to learning needs - scheduling a web conference or webinar without the kind of notice needed to assemble a geographically separate team for a face-to-face meeting.

There are also obvious cost efficiencies; Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, for example, believes his company will save nearly $40m in travel expenses this year using Live Meeting.

But for many trainers, the return on investment for web conferencing or webinars can be measured not only in financial terms, but also in personnel efficiency and knowledge distribution.

Successful web conferencing, however, takes preparation and so TrainingZONE has put together these tips on to help you hold an online meeting:

1. Understand the technology: The person hosting the meeting needs to take control over the meeting when necessary, keep the participants on track, and have the free time necessary for planning the meeting. The host will need a solid, working knowledge of the conferencing software being used as it will be his/her responsibility to also help out with any technical problems participants encounter.

2. Details: Before the meeting, send notices to the participants. These should include the Web address or server where the meeting will be held, the phone number of the host if the audio will be handled by telephone, the name and e-mail address of the host, and the technical requirements for the meeting.

3. Agenda: Send out the meeting agenda in advance and encourage participants to read it and any associated paperwork so that they are familiar with the topic and can formulate some thoughts before the meeting.

4. Preparation: Make sure all participants have installed the correct software. Encourage them to practice with the software prior to the conference, so that any problems can be ironed out. It's also a good idea to ask participants to practice connecting to the meeting so that time is not wasted on the day waiting for everyone to connect.

5. Start early: On the day of the meeting connect before it's scheduled to begin so that you can welcome participants and take them through how the conference will work. Leave plenty of time to help them through any problems they might have.

6. Control: Aim to conduct the meeting as if you were all in the same room and don't let participants get sidetracked or one person dominate proceedings.

* Related article Web Conferencing Makes Delivering Training Simple.


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