Hosting a successful online conference requires a few things to make the call run smoother, keep the audience engaged, and ensure connectivity. In this guide, we'll be covering the 5 key factors for successful online conferences for businesses of any size!
Many of us have become acquainted with online conferences with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Where thousands of businesses closed their doors forever, many thousands remained open by adopting the work from home model; and with great success. The work from home model has proven to be efficient and cost-effective, and online conferences are a huge part of that success.
Whether you're hosting your first online conference or your 100th, here are 5 key factors for successful online conferences.
1. The Right Platform
Using a free conferencing platform is fine for casual conversation, but when it comes to business, you need something with a bit more professionalism behind it and the best business features. Tools like Facebook Rooms are great, but they lack the professional look and functionality of business-oriented tools like Vast.
Whether you're strictly using the conferencing tools or using live streaming services and webinar software, the right platform can make a huge difference in the success of your efforts. Business-oriented conferencing platforms offer more call control, flexible software, customized meeting rooms, operator assistance, webinar and live streaming support, and more.
Why settle for the free version when you can get an all-in-one communication platform for just a few dollars per month?
2. Good Call Etiquette
Of course, even with the best conferencing platform out there, your calls are only as smooth as the callers make them. Good call etiquette should be the topic of conversation for any team, because there are some specific rules you'll want to follow.
Mute your mic. When someone is talking, let them finish before you talk. It's best to have your microphone muted if you're not up.
Minimize background noise. We get it-the kiddos are home too because of lockdown, but you should be able to go to an office or room to conduct your meeting. Constant background noise is both distracting and kills productivity.
Manners. Be polite to other callers.
Don't be late. Tardiness is something that we all have experienced at some point, but making a habit of it is detrimental to productivity and your confidence. Don't be late out of respect for both your time and the attendees' time.
Bring notes. If you can, do some research on the topic at hand so as to be prepared for discussions.
As the host, use an agenda. Being an organized host is a nod to your attendees and shows that you value their time. Try to keep meetings as short and concise as possible.
3. A Functional Agenda With Goals
Speaking of agendas, they're one of the most important tools in your conference call arsenal. A call that's unorganized and doesn't follow a roadmap tends to get off-track and cause disruption. Not to mention, it's a sign of respect to have the call organized and ready to go when your attendees arrive.
Agendas are simple. You can use a Google or Word document and simply plan out the call. Use these questions as a template:
What's the date, time, and location (or which platform are you using) for the call?
Who will attend the call?
What are the key talking points of the call?
What are the goals of the call?
How long will the call be?
Will you leave time for questions?
Using this template or a downloadable meeting template, you can better plan your meetings and enjoy the convenience and practicality of a good plan.
4. Live Streams
Live streams are one of the most unique tools offered by conferencing calling services, and they're a great way to host calls or appeal to an audience. Businesses can use live streams for product demonstrations, sales, meetings, and more.
Many modern conferencing services offer live streaming services as a bonus to your basic conference call package. With video content still reigning supreme as the king of online content, it's time to bring your business into the 21st century by adopting a live streaming service.
Keeping the callers engaged can be a challenge with certain topics. Let's be honest-policy meetings aren't exactly the most entertaining experiences. But don't worry, there's a way to create engaging content, even when you're talking about a topic that inspires more yawns than it does motivation.
Here are some tips for more engaging content:
Make your content interactive. You can include your callers in the conversation topics by offering up thought-provoking questions, or leave room for questions at the end of each segment.
Include a sense of fun. If you're hosting a long conference, you can include some fun activities for everyone to do. For example, silly ice-breakers like "Would you rather?" can simultaneously ease the tension and break the ice between team members.
Participation is key. Getting callers to participate in the conversation is the key to engaging content. If there are one or more people not participating, be sure to direct a few questions their way to inspire interest.
Online conferences can be streamlined with the right software, engaging content, and using an agenda. Be sure to set goals and enforce good call etiquette for smoother, more interactive conferences.