Conferences in the Times of COVID-19: A Brief Guide

Meetings and conferences are crucial for maintaining productivity among the employees. Lack of communication among personnel can lead to both minor hiccups and long-term problems. Due to the lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 outbreak last year, businesses can’t organize their in-office conferences as they normally would. But skipping out on these conferences is not a viable option either.

Remote conferencing, be it audio or video, is the primary solution to the problem. Although online conferences are relatively harder to manage than in-person ones, they have their benefits too. Here are 5 tips for you to successfully organize and conduct an online conference.

Develop an organized schedule

When the COVID-19 outbreak resulted in the halt of business activities, companies looked for alternative ways to carry out their operations. Hiring talented remote workers from all over the globe was a common tactic adopted by the affected businesses.

According to various reports, remote workers are more productive due to a well-maintained work-life balance. Where they produce more efficient results for the company they’re working for, diversified geographical locations can cause communication gaps due to different time zones.

If you’re organizing a conference just for local employees, it’s all good — you can develop an agenda like you normally would for an in-office meeting. However, if you’re working with remote workers from various states or countries, consider their time zones and develop a schedule that stays in line with every participant. You don’t want to invite someone to a conference scheduled at 11 PM their time.

Prepare your conference tools

While using different audio or video conferencing tools isn’t a hard job, it can sometimes be tricky for first-timers. If you’ve conducted online conferences before and are familiar with the typical know-how of the software being used, you’re good to go.

However, if you’ve never worked with online conferencing software before, you should take some time going through the process and see how things work.

Join 20 minutes early

Even when you set up your conferencing equipment just right, things can sometimes go wrong at the last minute. If you join the conference just before the set time, you might be devastated to see one of your tools is asking for a subscription, or your network connection is being unstable. These are just a couple of examples, technical problems may arise in many forms.

To counter the problem, join the meeting 10, 20, or even 30 minutes early. By doing so, you’d have the time to quickly acquire the needed subscription or get a stable backup data connection up and running.

Prepare your background (and ask the participants to do the same)

When you conduct an in-office conference, the meeting happens in a confined space specifically designed for the purpose. There are not many distractions that can turn away someone’s attention from the contents of the conference.

However, during video conferences, every participant, and even you, join from their homes. Several types of distractions, be they visual or audible, can appear in the background of any participant.

It’s a great practice to prepare your background beforehand and make sure nothing is distracting about it. Provide guidelines and advise your participants to do the same.

Utilize remote interpreting to counter communication barriers

When you work with people from different native backgrounds, language can sometimes be a major communication barrier. This barrier is not that substantial in in-person meetings as the majority of the participants are usually from the same city or state. However, with the flexibility of remote work, the language barrier is a prominent issue that must be addressed.

Remote interpreting is a solid solution to this problem. Using a remote interpreting platform in your conference can essentially help in eliminating the problems associated with languages and other communication barriers. Remote interpreting not only is a way of translating messages but is also a safer means to conduct online conferences as it reduces miscommunication and the problems that come along with it.

Final word

Meetings and conferences are imperative to promote communication in the company and stay proactive. But with the current locked-down state of the world, in-office conferences cannot be conducted.

When you go the route of remote conferences, the above-mentioned tips will help you boost your chances of making your meeting successful.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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