When to Meet in Person and When a Video Conference Will Do
For more effective and efficient communication, consider the complexity of the information you need to exchange before choosing the medium. For instance, if you need to ask for a file, a simple e-mail or instant message will do. If you need to work out a solution for an oil spill crisis, anything other than a face-to-face working meeting will lead to confusion and miscommunication. Video conferencing falls in between and can be useful for a wide variety of objectives with a medium level of communicational complexity such as employment applicant screenings, on-going product development sessions, volunteer training, and online courses or seminars.
Facilitating a Successful Web Based Meeting
Once you evaluate your communication goals and decide that a web conference is the appropriate venue for your meeting, consider taking several easy but important steps to ensure your e-meeting is successful. In order for your team to meet the objectives of the conference, you must tell them what the objectives are in the form of an agenda or talking points list. Set ground rules up front making it clear when it is okay to ask questions and make comments and how off-topic discussions will be handled. Stick to your agenda and time allocation – your team members have other commitments and will appreciate predictability. Engage quiet members by asking their opinion or requiring them to present the results of a pre-assigned research task. At the end of the meeting assign action items, set deadlines for deliverables, and send your team a transcript for later reference.
Video Conferencing – A Happy Medium
When a telephone call is not enough but traveling to a distant location is not necessary, video conferencing provides an ideal mean of collaboration when used thoughtfully. Effective web based video conferencing is easy if you follow a few simple steps to provide behavioral cues, meeting objectives, and respect for your team members’ time and contributions. Ultimately, considering the appropriate medium and taking time to prepare in advance will lead to more productive, effective meetings.