Technology issues are one of the most common problems of online meetings but some are also very preventable. In a recent survery conducted by OWLLabs, they identified that out of over 1000 businesses, 18.5% had problems sharing their screens, 15.4% had problems starting their meetings and over 10% experienced audio problems.
Over half of the surveyed companies reported wasting at least 10 minutes each time trying to setup their meeting and all of these technical problems result in a loss of $34b annually.
As a result of Covid-19, businesses have been forced to work and communicate remotely, utilising video conferencing tools and this is unlikely to change for some time. So what can organisers and participants do to reduce the tech stress of online meetings?
Don’t wait until the time to start the meeting to discover your equipment doesn’t work properly. It will just waste everyone’s time trying to fix it and stress you out. Test your laptop, camera, audio, headphones, microphone a few hours before hand to ensure none of it will let you down. If you know you should have rebooted your laptop because it feels a bit sluggish, don’t do it 5 minutes before the start of your meeting, do it with loads of time to spare.
Poor Wi-Fi is always one of the main problems people have when using virtual meetings. We see it even on Sky News with their reporters working from home. If you know you have a poor internet connection, speak to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to ensure there are no problems with your broadband. They will run a speed test and fix a line problem if there is one. More commonly it is the case that the standard Wi-Fi routers supplied by ISPs do not cover your entire home. So if you know you are going to be having virtual meetings in one of those Wi-Fi “dead spots” regularly in your home or office, speak to your IT company and they will be able to install wireless access points to ensure your Wi-Fi has a strong signal everywhere.
If you know that your laptop microphone doesn’t work properly, buy some headphones with a microphone built in. This is just an example. Setup a meeting test with a member of your team or a friend and test that everything you need to use works first. If something doesn’t, get it replaced by your company or added to your Amazon shopping list.
The same applies for the virtual meeting platform you intend to use. Test all of the mainstream ones, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Cisco Webex, GoToMeeting and choose one that best suits your skill set, requirements and experience. If you are part of a team that has already aligned themselves to one platform, test it. Use all of the features so you are familiar with how they all work so when you are either hosting or attending a meeting, there are no surprises. That includes sharing your screen!
The last thing you want is a stranger hijacking your video meeting. You also don’t want an issue with your computer equipment either such as a network security issue. Ensuring you have good cyber hygiene is key for any business at foundation level. That means at a very basic standard ensure all anti-virus software is up-to-date, scans have been run 24 hours before showing everything is OK and all of your computer updates having been installed, across the board. It also pays to have email filtering setup for your company email domain to ensure no nasty emails come in to your inbox for you to click on. After all, 91% of cyber attacks originate from a phishing email.
Next, ensure you have only shared the virtual meeting link to invited participants. That means personal invitations from you through your email and all of the mainstream video meeting platforms allow you to create a meeting invitation with dedicated details to share the virtual meeting securely. Do not share your meeting invites on social media and always set a meeting password.
Finally, sometimes circumstances are just outside of your control, such as your internet really does go down, all of the steps above have been checked and completed but something just fails to work beforehand or during the meeting. Accept that technical problems do occur, everybody appreciates that, be patient and try and keep a sense of humour when they do arise. You have done your best and you’re not an IT magician!
Please share this article and our infographic to those who need a little bit of help with their virtual meetings!