You've probably been there: sitting through a lackluster meeting, trying to stay focused on the topic at hand when all you can focus on are the hands on the clock ticking away. It can be even harder for virtual teams, as virtual meetings require the same amount – or more – of interaction to ensure everyone on the call stays engaged.
Conducting virtual meetings via Skype or Skype Mobile allows a group of people to meet from virtually anywhere, anytime. But how do you ensure these meetings are as productive as their face-to-face counterparts?
Try these tips to enhance the success of your next virtual meeting: 1. Preparation Getting organized in advance sets the tone for the meeting and sends the message that you expect everyone else to be prepared as well. Communicate in advance to ensure all attendees understand the meeting's purpose and expected results. Send any preliminary information, such as the agenda, roster of participants or other applicable documents, to everyone prior to the meeting date (TIP: you can drop these documents into a group Skype chat that includes all participants, and then call everyone directly from there when it's time for the meeting to begin). And of course, like traditional meetings, virtual meetings should have a specified start and end time – be sure to take each participant's time zone into account.
2. Focus To ensure your virtual team stays focused, ask that everyone set aside sufficient time and a place free from distractions for the meeting (i.e., free from barking dogs or loud surroundings in a public venue). Establish a no emailing policy (or phone calls or instant messaging) during the meeting, and suggest everyone set their Skype status to “Do Not Disturb” after the meeting begins to avoid interruptions.
3. Interaction In a virtual setting, it's easy to jump right in to the “meat” of the meeting, but that can create an impersonal atmosphere, which is especially important to avoid in virtual meetings. To get the dialogue moving and put everyone at ease, start with a bit of small talk and have each attendee introduce themselves. Encourage participation from the beginning of the meeting and throughout by asking specific questions rather than open-ended questions, which can lead to dead air. Another option is to hold virtual meetings via group video call, so you're able to communicate as if you were face-to-face.
4. Next Steps Before concluding, make attendees aware of any next steps or follow up items that came from the meeting. Reiterate the key points discussed and outline next steps in your group chat. You can also use the chat to solicit feedback from attendees to identify what is or isn't working and collect suggestions for future web meetings.
With the cost of plane tickets and hotels rising all the time, travelling is getting increasingly expensive. This is bad news for small businesses, who still need to attend conferences and offer off-site training, but it's also a drain for large corporations, non-profits, and any other group looking to hold an event. One answer, of course, lies in virtual worlds.
Cost savings A new cost savings calculator release earlier this year allows users to see how much money could be saved by switching to virtual meetings instead of in-person business trips. The calculator asks for the total amount of money spent on travel, and the number of trips per year, and calculates the average ticket price automatically. The calculator then offers the amount of savings provided by switching various percentages of trips to virtual meetings instead.
Meetings, however, is not the only area which can be virtualized to save money. Training can be very expensive, and training on-site is often not as effective as training off-site, as well as disrupting the normal work flow. Virtual training is an obvious solution. Instead of shelling out to send employees on costly training trips, have them do their training in a virtual world, or online elsewhere. Although OpenSim is one of the most popular virtual platforms, there are many others that may suit a specific need better.
Conferences are also very expensive, not only to host, but also to attend. Holding conferences virtually, like upcoming the OpenSimulator Community Conference in September, can save a lot of money. And holding a conference in a virtual world instead certainly doesn't deter people — the OpemSimulator Community Conference is already sold out of in-world venue tickets. The conference offers the same events, social gatherings, workshops, and keynote sessions that a standard conference would offer, except everything happens virtually.
Virtual conferences also save people from the hassle of travel. The uncomfortable plane ride, the unfamiliar hotel room, and the difficulties of navigating in a new city might deter some people from attending. By holding the conference virtually, you allow people to attend the conference and interact with others without ever leaving their home. And no one has to pay for a plane ticket.
This calculator could be the push businesses need to switch to virtual meetings. By seeing exactly how much money they could save, businesses may finally see the benefits that virtual worlds can offer.
Environmental and energy benefits Switching to virtual meetings benefits the environment as well. According to a recent study done by GÉANT, “there is a saving of 66% of the total GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions due to transport as a result of the use of videoconferencing for NDLR board meetings in the period studied.”
Although the study discusses the benefits of videoconferencing, the results can be applied to any form of virtual meeting. The report looks at energy savings from not travelling to the location.
“Using the NIIF calculator, the savings may now be as much as 1896 kg of GHG emission, just calculating how much saving was made by using VC; had all attendees used VC rather than travelling, a further 1918 kg of GHG could have been saved,” the report said.
The energy saved by switching to virtual meetings also offers an environmental benefit as well. By cutting out travel, not only are greenhouse gas emissions, but less fuel is used.
There is good news for all. After several months' hard work, CUMeeting, as one of the professional video conferencing provides finally officially launched its video conferencing software which aims to address all the actual problem that all industries may encounter.
Using the cloud-based platform and the industry leading H.264, MP4 video encoding technology, CUMeeting web based video conferencing can deliver secure, stable, smooth, clear and crisp video and audio quality for all industries such as business, government, education, training, finance, healthcare, legal, military and community etc.
CUMeeting video conferencing can collaborate with anyone, anywhere and anytime. It is easy to deployment, you can either enable video conferencing with your computer, laptop or make it available on your portable devices like iPad, iPhone, Android devices etc.
CUMeeting web based video conferencing software equips with full featured communication tools like text exchange, file sharing, media sharing, screen sharing, whiteboard, voting and recording etc for users to enhance effective communication and collaboration with each.
There are five main solution of video conferencing, you can use it either hold online meeting, do online teaching, have online training, conduct online presentation or host webinar event etc. And below are the detailed information of solutions of video conferencing.
Online Meeting: As one of the dedicated cloud-based video conferencing services, CUMeeting delivers you a flexible virtual meeting software for all industries, departments and organizations including companies of all sizes, government (federal, state or local), universities, educational institutions and financial departments etc.
Online Teaching: CUMeeting online teaching software offers a real-time, cost effective, easy to use and highly collaborative full featured virtual classroom environment consisting of an interactive online virtual classroom featuring easy-to-use and function accessible interface which is specially designed for individuals and professionals.
Online Training: CUMeeting online training software enables instructors to share documents, screen, desktop, applications etc on their computer, annotate their presentation to draw attention to specific areas of interest, interact with the trainees by text message exchange and examine training results using electronic voting .
Online Presentation: CUMeeting Video presentation Software is ideal for sales and marketing professionals to help them reach more customers in geographically dispersed locations, conduct clear, intuitive product and service promotion, maintain customer relationship and gain more customers to improve work productivity and generate revenue
Webinar Service: Using the industry leading H.264 MPEG-4 video encoding technology, CUMeeting provides top quality Webinar software to ensure you a secure, reliable, scalable and customizable webinar with up to 720P and 1080P high definition video quality. With rich features provided, it can definitely satisfy you diverse requirements.
CUMeeting video conferencing is available at sale at a starting price of $19/month (hosting 8 attendees) and is subject to change depending on your own requirements.
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