NetSpeed Learning Solutions May 2020
Facilitating Online Meetings with PEPPER
Whew! We have passed the honeymoon stage of this massive pivot to virtual meetings and we are all ready for something better. When I say "better," I mean better than the draining experience of some of the web events you have likely participated in. There are articles being written now about Zoom fatigue  focused on the amount of time that people have been spending in front of their computer screens while participating in virtual meeting after meeting.
I am here to tell you that the fatigue is real, but it can be remedied. It results from poorly conceived, poorly planned, and poorly facilitated online meetings. You cannot just throw everyone into a virtual meeting room and expect a successful virtual event.
Last month's complimentary webinar, Going Virtual: We've Got to Start Meeting LikeThis, introduced a little spice called PEPPER, which spells out the six crucial aspects of an effective virtual meeting.
P = Purposeful
Make sure every online meeting has clear, specific meeting objectives that describe the targets for the meeting. Use those objectives to build the agenda.
E = Engaging
Build engagement and interaction into the meeting plan, using all your web conference tools.
P = Productive
Make effective use of time throughout. Begin and end on time. Have a timekeeper monitor time spent on each agenda item.
P = Personal
Virtual presence is how real you feel online to people. Amplify your virtual presence by using your web cam effectively.
E = Encouraging
Recognize our human need to be seen, heard, and celebrated. End every virtual meeting on a positive note that leaves people feeling motivated.
R = Results-oriented
Ensure that you evaluate the tangible and intangible results of each virtual meeting. Did you fulfill your meeting objectives? Did people participate fully? Why or Why Not? Identify simple changes you might make for the next meeting to get better results.
These six words can be divided into task-oriented (Purposeful, Productive, and Results-oriented) or people-oriented (Engaging, Personal, and Encouraging) guidance. A balanced virtual meeting meets both types of needs well, no matter what your personal preference might be. If you tend to be a task-oriented manager, recognize that many people on your team crave human connection and interaction right now as we weather this global pandemic. If you tend to be a people-oriented manager, recognize that some people might be motivated right now by tackling important goals and tasks, making visible progress. You can meet both sets of needs in a balanced way with thoughtful planning, using PEPPER as your guide.
Join us for our next complimentary one-hour webinar, Become a Jedi Master: Producing Webinars in the Virtual Classroom, May 27th at 1:00 pm ET / 10:0 am PT. In this session, you will learn how to support facilitators, producers, and participants to have the best online experience possible.  

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Cynthia Clay
Picking the Right Web Conference Platform
Many of our clients are evaluating the best web conference platforms for their training and meeting needs. As you make this important decision, consider these factors:

Audience Size : What is the smallest and largest audience you want to support? How well does the platform handle the larger audiences compared to the smaller audiences?

Interaction Options : What tools are available to increase interaction and engagement? The most common tools to access include polling, chat (to everyone), chat (privately), annotation tools, emoticons or emojis, whiteboards, breakout rooms, web cameras, and the ability to play video or audio.

Producing Functions : How many producers need to have access to the complete meeting functionality from creating meeting room links to building polls?

Security : Does the web conference platform pass the security tests of your IT department? Can you password-protect meeting links? Can you boot unwelcome people out of a session?

Audio : Does the platform allow you to dial in on a telephone bridge as well as stream audio using VolP (Voice-over Internet Protocol)? Are the costs of either or both reasonable?

Ease of Use : How simple is the interface for first-time users?

Sophistication of Engagement : While ease of use is important, it is also important to be able to build more sophisticated learning experiences and activities that keep participants engaged.

Tutorials : How helpful are the tutorials produced by the platform vendor? Are they short and focused on specific functions? Would it be possible for your training team to view a tutorial and then immediately apply the function?

Support : How easy is it to access technical support before, during, and after the web event?

In a recent webinar I delivered for Training Magazine, I polled the 750 attendees to determine which web conference platforms their organizations were using. The top three platforms were Zoom, Webex (at around 32% each) and Adobe Connect (at about 15%). We have developed a platform comparison document that compares the features and functionality of these three web conferencing platforms.  If you are making a decision about web conference platforms and would like a copy of this comparison document, please email us .
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