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Team 2 - 4 Tips for Selecting Virtual Meeting Technologies

Page history last edited by avincke223@... 7 years, 10 months ago

4 Tips for Selecting Virtual Meeting Technologies

 

Introduction

The purpose of this Wiki is to provide tips to managers to select virtual meeting technologies.  Virtual meeting technologies are technologies that allow for meeting to be hosted over the internet using audio or video conferencing.  They also allow for data and application sharing via collaborative technologies (2). There will be 4 tips for selecting virtual meeting technologies.  The 4 tips are identify team objectives before selecting a technology, compare the features available among different technologies, consider the locations of others, and make everyone feel comfortable.  A manager should be expected to learn how to select an appropriate virtual meeting technology for their team or project.

 

Tip 1

When selecting a virtual meeting technology you want to select a technology that fits to the processes and objectives that have already been created (1).  Selecting a technology that does not fit already decided processes and objectives can cause meetings to not run smoothly and achieve what the meeting is supposed to.  Meetings can be divided up into 4 main types of technologies: briefing, problem solving, work execution, and team building (12).  Each of these types has different objectives to be achieved.  Knowing what your objectives are can help select a technology that makes easier to make the objectives.  If your team objectives are to update everyone on the team on the project every week then you would need a tool to allow for simple communication.  While if the objective is to generate ideas then vote on the ideas you would need to fulfill those objectives with most likely a brainstorming and voting technology.  One technology may fulfill both of those or you may need 2 technologies.  Knowing what you are trying to achieve with your objectives will help lead you in what type of technology you will need.  There are lots of options for what virtual meeting technologies you can choose to use based on the objective or objectives that your team is trying to achieve.  Some technologies can fulfill just one objective and do it very well while other technologies can fulfill many objectives but possibly not be very good at any one objective.

 

Tip 2

After identifying the business objectives, you should review the features available on the various virtual meeting tools that can support these goals.  Some questions to ask yourself:  Will I need to share any documents or applications?  Will we have multiple presenters?  Will I need a whiteboard? Will we need to record any of the sessions to playback for later?  Will we need video?  Screen-sharing capabilities are often useful for demonstrations or for trainings.  Since you are no longer in a traditional conference room setting screen sharing provides a great visual to your virtual audience so that they can see what you’re doing in real-time as if they were there with you and there is no need to load your documents to remote servers (9).  Beside sharing files and applications on your desktop, certain virtual meeting technologies allow you to share control of your desktop with your participants or change presenters altogether so that you can share multiple desktops simulating collaborative group work. Whiteboards are good for brainstorming ideas or conveying ideas with a visual depiction.  Other advanced features found in some offerings include additional capabilities such as voice and/or video recording, video conferencing, and viewing multiple screens at once (6).  Most virtual meetings will not require these advanced features to meet their business objectives. Recording capabilities can be useful for those in a technical support role who wish to replay the web session to recreate the issue on their own so that they can better troubleshoot and fix the error.  Recordings can also be used to create computer based trainings (CBTs). Video conferencing can become pricey for larger scale meetings and may not always be necessary.  There are many less costly virtual meeting technologies that can accommodate video conferencing for one-on-one meetings that you can use to build a relationship base with.

 

Tip 3

The purpose of meeting virtually is so that your team members do not have to all meet at one place at one time. In actuality that is still what has to happen. Just like with face-to-face meeting we have to consider the locations, their schedules and what they have access to. Considering the location of others is a simple but an overlooked tip you should entertain. Some team members may be at home, on the road, or in another part of the world, but they still need to be included in regular meetings with the team (7).  Determining the location of team members is essential because scheduling depends on it. Making sure you can meet at an appropriate time in every team member’s time zone can be difficult. Some may have to meet really early in the morning while others late at night.  Also, lining up everyone’s schedule so you can meet at a time each member is free will be an hard task.

 

Tip 4

Meeting virtually may be new to some of your group member so making everyone feel comfortable will make your meeting or project go smoother. Getting each member involved is a great way to start off your meeting so that everyone will be familiar with each other. That way your team members will learn a little more about one another and feel more relaxed when sharing ideas. Also, your team leader should set up a trial meeting to walk through what you will be doing.  He or she should explain how to navigate through the site and work out any problems they may have. That way we can decide which technology works best for your group. If you decided to use video for your group meeting, your team leader should go figure out what the guidelines. For example, what you should wear, having noise in the background or inappropriate things you should not say or do. Adding voice or video to your group meetings could allow more participation from all your team members. Some could have more courage to voice their opinion more than in other technologies. For future meetings, a fun exercise or icebreaker can be put into place to just get people talking (8).

 

Conclusion

Why use virtual meeting technologies? Virtual Meetings provide significant cost savings. You can save on the travel costs that would normally be needed to book airfare and/or hotel rooms, pay for transportation etc. It’s also extremely convenient once everyone is comfortable with the technology and it can accommodate different locations and time zones at one time.  You can have your best people in different offices and countries work on critical projects together (10). The downside to virtual meetings is that you lose the personal contact you would have in face-to-face meetings where you can develop more solid relationships and there is a higher chance of your participants multitasking since you are not able to see them. Also, your participants will need to have the proper hardware/software equipment and internet connection set up (11).

 

References

1.http://facilitate.com/blog/index.php/2010/11/selecting-virtual-meeting-technology-for-interactive-meetings/

 

2. http://www.gototelecom.com/faqs

 

3.http://www.facilitate.com/support/facilitator-toolkit/docs/Six-Critical-Success-Factors-for-Successful-Virtual-Meetings.pdf

 

4.http://smallbizbee.com/index/2011/08/08/choosing-a-virtual-meeting-service-for-your-small-business/

 

5.http://books.google.com/books?id=lRX1lCE1mtUC&pg=PT208&lpg=PT208&dq=tips+for+choosing+a+virtual+meeting+technology&source=bl&ots=KctCDi249v&sig=TuSjRI0AzBIgnrDB6dpYtl5WpIU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Ph2OT8HwLYjgtgf0wNDmBA&ved=0CG8Q6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=tips%20for%20choosing%20a%20virtual%20meeting%20technology&f=false

 

6. http://www.socialbrite.org/2011/01/19/comparison-top-web-conferencing-services/

 

7.http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/choosing-the-right-meeting-format-HA001192814.aspx

 

8. http://www.asaecenter.org/Resources/ANowDetailLeadershipIssue.cfm?ItemNumber=54343

 

9.http://www.desktop-sharing.org/benefits-desktop-sharing/

 

10. http://www.ehow.com/list_5997010_advantages-virtual-meetings.html

 

11.http://www.ehow.com/facts_5836337_disadvantages-virtual-meetings_.html

 

12.http://www.exforsys.com/career-center/meeting-management/meeting-types-and-objectives.html

 

 

 

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First Draft
Team 2 - Outline

 

Comments (1)

terbush@... said

at 1:04 pm on May 23, 2012

I hope you are not done? I was hoping for some discussion on each of these tips. Please provide navigation back to the main page.

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