With the internet changing the world in a never-ending fashion, changes in technology have also resulted in changes to the form that business meetings take. Accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, remote work has now become the norm. Although face-to-face meetings are making a comeback as the pandemic has eased, virtual meetings remain indispensable as they help address environmental concerns and solve the problem of low attendance by enhancing participant engagement. Read on to discover more about virtual meetings and how they can benefit the way you work.
What is a virtual meeting
Virtual meetings are online web conferences that replace traditional in-person gatherings. With the power of the internet, people can connect instantly from anywhere in the world through a computer or mobile device.
Why a virtual meeting is beneficial
Virtual meetings are an ideal way of bringing people worldwide into one space and allowing for charts, graphs, videos, audio, text, and files to be shared instantly among participants. With potentially up to hundreds of participants involved, a successful virtual meeting can benefit everyone.
Save time and money
Eliminating the need to travel, secure accommodation, and purchase food means extra savings. Time is also saved, which can be redirected into productivity as any time commuting and preparing for a meeting can be used for other work instead.
With access to the internet more widespread than ever, people can connect and participate from places around the world instantly. Taking the travel aspect away from meetings is also environmentally friendly and reduces the carbon footprint.
Features on platforms
Current platforms for virtual meetings have features that make them easy to use. Recording, screen sharing, scheduling, and calendar support are features found on most virtual meeting platforms. Many platforms can now run on any device, and user-friendly interfaces mean a low learning curve for people unfamiliar with a given platform.
Best virtual meeting platforms
With more platforms available nowadays, choosing the right one according to features and the number of people it can host is worth considering. Here are five recommended platforms for meetings.
Zoom: Synonymous with remote work, Zoom can host up to 100 attendees simply by sharing a dedicated URL link.
Google Meets: Google Meets has become a popular platform in recent years and can host up to 250 people (who must have a Google account) at once.
Skype: Skype has updated its features to include video conferencing for up to 50 people via a link with no need to download or register ahead of time.
Cisco Webex: Cisco Webex is designed for businesses and is known for its strong security, intuitive controls, and its capacity to host up to 100 people with no time limit.
Toasty: Toasty is free with built-in ice-breaker questions, interactive polls, activities, Miro boards, and more.
How to have a successful virtual meeting
A successful virtual meeting requires some planning and preparation. Depending on the size, agenda, and what is to be shared, plan accordingly to ensure the virtual meeting will go smoothly.
Set the agenda
Set an agenda for the meeting that covers the key points to be discussed. It should be shared with all participants before the meeting to give them time to prepare.
Ask about times and send invitations
Ask those who will be attending the meeting about the dates and times that work best. Once a suitable date and time that works for everyone has been established, send invites to inform them of the meeting. If a link is needed, include the link.
Check your equipment
Make sure you have access to a strong internet connection. Also, don’t forget to test your microphone and camera beforehand to make sure everything is running fine. Check whether your microphone is on or off and if being on camera is necessary. Keep the camera on if you feel comfortable. If there are more than 10 participants in a meeting, then muting your microphone is recommended. Blur the background if you think it would be distracting to others attending the meeting.
Present a professional image to other participants in a virtual meeting. Make sure your clothing will make others feel comfortable.
Create conversation prompts
Begin a meeting by warming up with some informal icebreakers to help participants engage with each other.
Ensure that someone is moderating the meeting. Remind participants to mute themselves when they need to listen and have them direct their questions to a chat function. Doing this will ensure everything runs well while maintaining clear, active communication.
Ask for feedback
There is always room to improve a virtual meeting. Feedback from participants will help you identify areas for improvement for future meetings, whether they will be held on a different platform, use different features, or follow a different structure, and help ensure a positive experience.
Recent technology trends in virtual meetings and events
New technologies are always being incorporated in meetings and events. Some recent trends and developments have even introduced integral aspects of virtual meetings and events that are sure to continue for the foreseeable future.
Artificial intelligence-based technology
The talk over AI has been impossible to ignore, and the benefits it can bring to meetings and events is no exception. Examples of AI-based technology include the provision of real-time language translations for international audiences or the creation of automatic transcriptions to improve note taking.
Virtual and augmented reality
The integration of virtual and augmented reality technologies in meetings can help close the distance between people in a fun and engaging way. Participants can feel more involved and encouraged to bring more of their creativity to bear.
Projection mapping and holograms
Advances in technology have allowed the possibility of projection mapping and even 3D holograms to be implemented in meetings and events. Keynote speakers could be projected in real time for an even more immersive experience.
Virtual meetings have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, providing a convenient means of connectivity and instant information sharing across the globe. Such meetings eliminate the need for resource-intensive logistical arrangements, such as transportation and accommodation. With remote working continuing to be a common practice, the utilization of virtual meetings is only poised to grow further.
Case studies in meetings and events can be found on the JTBUSA website. Learn more about successfully digitizing your meetings and events here at https://www.jtbusa.com/meetings-events/case2
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