Conducting an Effective Web Conference Web conferencing is a forum for interactive presentations that span one-to-one meetings, internal conferences, team meetings and public seminars. Instead of jumping on a plane or driving across town, you can invite your audience to a web conference instead. Web conferencing can be used for a wide variety of applications including new product launches, sales presentations, training, software/product demonstrations, financial updates, marketing events and much more. The possibilities are virtually endless. There has been an explosive growth in web conferencing. The reason is clear: web conferencing not only reduces travel costs and hassles, but makes communication faster and more effective. To make your web conferences as effective as possible, here are some guidelines to follow: General Considerations Be sure your audience members have access to an Internet connection and a computer with a sound card and speakers. Be concise – a good rule of thumb is to limit your presentation to 30 minutes. Incorporate an interactive element every few slides to keep your audience interested send a poll or ask for feedback via chat. This will help to prevent them from multitasking. Develop Slides A slide presentation is the core of most web conferences. There are some basic rules for developing a presentation that works well when presented in an online environment. Write in brief, clear language. Use “you” more often than you might otherwise in a written document – it will make your information resonate more with your audience. Include a maximum of five bullet points per slide. Use a large font that can be easily read – a minimum point size of 18 is recommended. Use graphics with restraint in order to keep the file size manageable for those participants on dial-up connections. Interact with the Audience Interaction keeps virtual audiences engaged. Web conferencing offers several features that allow leaders to interact with their audience including Polling, Q&A, Chat and a Whiteboard. Polling is the most popular method of increasing interaction. Polling questions can be planned ahead of time or created on-the-fly during your web conference. Select preset multiple choice responses or create a customized question and answer set. Once participants respond to a Polling question, results can be shared with the entire group for even more interactivity. A Q&A session is another way to increase interaction. Participants can send questions to the leader without interrupting the presentation. The leader can address them immediately or save them for later. Emphasize the Main Points Web conferencing offers many tools that can help you emphasize the main points of your presentation and keep your audience focused. Annotation tools are a great way to emphasize what you are talking about at any given time. These tools allow you to highlight areas within your slide presentation and keep your audience focused on the subject at hand. Application Sharing allows you to share any document or software application on your hard drive with your audience. Not only can the audience view the document, the leader can pass control of it to any audience member who can then make changes to the document in real time. This is a great tool for training courses or working sessions. Web Touring lets the audience follow along with the leader’s browser as he navigates the web. This feature is perfect for showing the audience updates to a company website, pointing out information on a competitor’s website and much more. Measure Results Virtually anything that happens during a web conference can be viewed in a report. The reports can be used to evaluate participants and gauge the success of the web conference. Participant Lists determine the size of the audience. Details found on these reports include login/logout times, email addresses, company names and more. This information can be used to generate sales leads. Chat/Q&A Reports can be used to follow up with participants and clarify any outstanding issues. Polling Reports provide the leader with valuable feedback. Individual results can be recorded and used to generate pie charts and bar graphs for easy analysis. Archive Presentations Web conferences can be archived for replay via the Internet. This gives anyone who missed the presentation the opportunity to view it. It is also helpful for audience members who want to review the presentation again. There are a couple of archiving options: By selecting a Record and Playback option, both the audio and web portions of the presentation are synchronized, providing an exact replica of the original web conference. The playback can be accessed via the web at any time. Document Archives allows the leader to post documents to a website, making it easy for participants to quickly find them. The use of web conferencing tools will continue to increase in popularity. By keeping these helpful guidelines in mind when conducting a web conference, you can improve your business communications while keeping travel costs to a minimum. For information about InterCall’s web conferencing services, go to www.intercall.com.