Videoconferencing is not big news anymore. It has gone from the domain of Fortune 500 companies to an accessible tool that is scalable to any size business and any size of meeting. Far from being a buzzword, videoconferencing has the ability to greatly streamline communications within any organization, whether it is a one on one or a webinar that reaches thousands. When you need all hands on deck, you need to use the interactive features of your videoconferencing app to pull everybody in.

Making the Most of It

Having an effective interactive all hands meeting depends on reaching everyone. In short, while you are streaming the meeting, you need to get content to the attendees. Content can’t stand alone, and neither can streaming they depend on one another for context. A bunch of boring text slides will put everyone to sleep, while and engaging presentation and rich media will make it memorable. Being able to access these features in app during a BlueJeans meeting will get everybody quite literally on the same page. Here are a few tips that will help you take real advantage.

  1. Get visual. Visual aids such as photos, video, charts, and the ubiquitous infographic can have a much greater impact than text or speech. Would you think about describing the Mona Lisa? Photos and other visual elements speak for themselves and provide context to the verbal portion of the presentation.
  2. TED up. TED talks last no longer than 18 minutes, but everyone who views them finds them memorable long after they’ve been viewed. TED has created a guide for presentations that can help you to refine the format of your own. In the guide, they have three questions for every perspective TED speaker: “Is my idea new? Is it interesting? Is it factual and realistic?” Your meetings, no matter on what subject or with however many or few participants would benefit from a close reading and implementation of this guide.
  3. Simply letting staff loose on a new videoconferencing application and expecting them to become proficient is unrealistic, not to mention a great way to completely stress out your staff. To get the most out of any software – no matter how intuitive – training your staff is going to save you a lot of time, money, and hassle. In addition, the meeting will progress smoother and faster if everyone knows what they’re doing in the application.
  4. Practice makes perfect. Not very many people are taught to speak in public. They look down at the lectern so that all you see is the top of their head, they might mumble, or they might be so uncomfortable on camera that their discomfort distracts from the message. While nobody needs to go line up and join Toastmasters, there is some practice required to get people comfortable with being on camera.
  5. Mind your manners. Setting an agenda and sticking with it are two entirely different things. Unfortunately agendas can be derailed when speakers go over their time, when content is unavailable, when other people interrupt, or when distractions occur. Advise people to mute their microphones to avoid distracting the speaker, make content available prior to the meeting, and be firm on time frames for speakers.
  6. Time it. While one hour meeting may not need a break or any significant rearrangement of the workday, meetings that run over 90 minutes should be accompanied by a 15 minute break. Meetings that run longer than that should have breaks and meals scheduled as appropriate.
  7. Give warning. Nobody wants to have a meeting that is announced at 9 o’clock in the morning on the day on which it is to occur. These things tend to be not only intrusive into the workday, but spontaneous meetings rarely have planning on their side. Seek input on scheduling from the attendees, and if someone is unable to attend use the recording feature to make sure that they are caught up.
  8. Dedicate a space and manage it. According to the Wall Street Journal, obtaining meeting space is becoming highly competitive. It can add an additional 30 minutes to your meeting if you have to scuttle around the building looking for space, and it definitely does not look professional if you have to hold your webinar from the table at your local Starbucks.

So there you have it, interactive does not mean distracted. Interactive features in app can make meetings more effective, memorable, and actionable. Managing your meeting time and training everyone in the use of the app means that even your most massive all hands meetings can be as effective and to the point as a TED talk. Implement these changes and make sure that everyone understands that they are good, healthy, and productive disruptions instead of disruption for disruption’s sake.