Web Conferencing Best Practices
1. Check Audio/Video Before the Session Begins
Making sure your audio and/or video is working before your session begins will help with a smooth start to your session. Most web conferencing systems have an audio/video test to help you ensure everything is working.
2. Prep Your Materials and Workspace
If possible, have all of your presentation materials pre-loaded into the web conferencing application. Also, prep your computer workspace in case you are sharing your screen. Nobody wants to show their email or instant messages to other attendees!
3. Become Familiar with the Tools
Web Conferencing systems have many moderator tools available. You can mute attendees, grant or revoke presenter status, draw on the whiteboard, etc. You should become familiar with these before your session.
4. Ensure People can Hear You and that Your Volume is Appropriate
Before you formally start your session, it is a great idea to ask your attendees, "Can you hear me ok?" A great time to do this is when people are starting to join the meeting. Let them know the meeting will be starting in just a few minutes, and ask them to let you know via chat that they can hear you ok. The most common reason they can't hear you? A muted mic! Make sure you are unmuted.
5. Don't Forget to Start the Recording
If you are recording your session for later playback, don't forget to start (and stop) your recording. You don't want to miss out on vital conversation!
6. Introduce Yourself
Even if your attendees know who you are in person, they may not know who is speaking. It is a good idea to introduce yourself so that everyone is aware who is hosting the session and will be talking.
7. Upload your PowerPoint
Using a PowerPoint presentation during your meeting? Upload your presentation ahead of time. Alternatively, if you will be sharing your desktop for the presentation, make sure to launch slideshow mode.
8. Mute Yourself
When you are not speaking, or if others are speaking, it is courtesy to mute yourself. It is also a good to get into the habit of muting yourself when you are coughing, sneezing, drinking coffee, etc.
9. Be Mindful of Background Noise
Although some background noise is inevitable, you should try and think of your surroundings and the impact it might have on your presentation. Firetrucks, dogs barking, or loud offices can be distracting to others attending your session.
10. Check the Chat
It is easy get caught up in your presentation and disregard the chat, but some people prefer to communicate via the chat instead of their microphone (or they do not have a microphone). Don't forget to check in on the chat for dialogue, or even better, have a colleague monitor it for you.
11. Make Eye Contact
It may feel weird, but it creates a sense of engagement when you look at your webcam while you or others are talking. If you were in person, you would look them in the eyes, and this is what this simulates!
12. Turn Off Video When Not Needed
Although it is great to use your video so others can see you, there may be times when it is appropriate to turn off your video. You do not want your video or the background to be a distraction during your presentation.