How to Keep a Large Video Meeting Productive

Have you ever been to a company-wide video meeting where productivity went flying out the window? From side conversations to unnecessary topics, video meetings with 20+ people can be quite unproductive, if not handled properly. To keep your team on track during your next video meeting, use these tips:

1. Invite the Right Team Members

Rather than inviting every person in the company, only invite those who need to hear the information or take action on respective agenda items. This will limit the number of individuals in the video call and reduce the chance of unproductive conversations or multitasking.

2. Create and Distribute an Agenda

Providing attendees an agenda will allow them to review meeting items and prepare any necessary materials. Plus, it creates a structure for your meeting that everyone will follow.

Do your best to deliver the agenda at least the day before a scheduled meeting. This will give participants ample time to prepare.

3. Use Meeting Tools to Your Advantage

Video conferencing tools provide meeting hosts with a variety of features. From chat functions to the ability to mute specific attendees, these tools are designed to streamline meetings and improve productivity.

Take a look at the features available in your video conferencing software and determine how they can help your meeting flow.

4. Set a Defined End Time

While meeting calendar invites may say the meeting is only supposed to last 30 minutes, how often is this the case? To ensure that your session remains productive, set — and communicate — a defined meeting end time. Doing so also ensures that your agenda doesn’t include extraneous items or conversations.

5. Assign a Meeting Facilitator

Assigning a meeting facilitator is an excellent way to keep discussion topics on track and within the allocated time limits. While the facilitator could also be the meeting organizer, it’s best to assign another employee so that one individual isn’t responsible for handling all aspects of the meeting.

6. Organize Participation

Receiving feedback from participants in a 20+ person meeting can be tricky. Instead of opening up the floor to communication chaos, organize participation in advance.

When you distribute the agenda, let employees know they can request to speak on a certain item in advance. In addition, allow meeting participants to submit questions before a meeting. This allows you to schedule enough time for participation before the meeting and ensures you answer burning questions.

Also, video conferencing tools enable participants to chat to the group. Use this tool to guide conversations wisely, as well.

7. Use Your Webcam

Turning on your webcam holds you you accountable during a meeting. With large meetings it can be easy to tune out and start multi-tasking. When you are on video, your team can see if you’re really listening and actively engaged.

 

How to Pull Off a Professional Video Call From Home

Now that everyone relies on video calls for communication, video conferencing “fails” are becoming a trending topic online. In order to avoid “fails” and successfully pull off a professional video call from home, keep our quick tips in mind:

1. Invest in a Hi-Res Camera and Quality Audio

Before your video meeting or interview, test out your computer’s camera and audio. If it’s not up to par, invest in a hi-res camera and quality microphone. Adding these to your call will enhance the experience for everyone who joins.

2. Test Your WiFi Strength

There is nothing worse than dropping out of a video call due to a poor connection. Test your WiFi before the call. Is it a strong connection? If not, switch to the 5 GHz WiFi option. If this still doesn’t work, try using an ethernet cable to improve your connection.

3. Tidy Up and Zoom In

Clean up the area where you intend to conduct the video call. Remove all clutter and distracting artwork or appliances, and do a quick sweep for clumps of dust.

Next, zoom your camera in to frame your portrait. While your background choice is key, the caller should be focused on your face, not your decor.

4. Dress Well

You will generally feel your most professional self when connecting with your coworkers on video conferencing if you dress as if you are still going into the office.

Wear clothes that show up well in room lighting, and are also not distracting. Loud jewelry, ties, or patterns are typically frowned upon.

5. Mute Your Mic

As you join the video call, be sure to mute your audio. This eliminates the chance of startling call participants by sending irritating feedback or background noises into the call.

6. Use Proper Video Call Etiquette

Just like face-to-face meetings, there are some standards for video call etiquette:

  • Look into the camera to maintain “eye contact.”
  • Never speak over another individual. Signal your interest to talk.
  • Eliminate distractions, such as phone notifications.
  • Put your audio on mute when not speaking.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready for any video call that comes your way.

3 Ways to Inspire and Motivate Remote Teams

Remote work was once a desirable office perk. Since 2010, however, the amount of people who work remotely at least once a week has grown by 400%. In the past few weeks, that number has skyrocketed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While still tasked with the same responsibilities, workloads, and deliverables as before, remote teams also face their own unique set of challenges. A difference in schedules, work habits, and time zones can all cause difficulties among remote team members.

To effectively work remotely as a team, employees must be understanding, consistent, and motivated. However, we all know that motivation can ebb and flow. Fortunately, there are several ways to inspire your remote team to be productive and take on new challenges.

1. Check In Often

One of the most common challenges a remote team faces is the feeling of isolation and loneliness. This feeling is amplified when practicing social distancing. Working from home alone (or with kids) day-in and day-out isn’t the most conducive environment for productivity and creativity. As a result, employees can feel in a rut, or siloed from their teammates.

Make it a point to regularly check-in with your employees. This can be in the form of a chat message, or a phone call, but be sure to also incorporate face-to-face video meetings. Your co-workers and teams need to see you. The good news is video conferencing technology like GlobalMeet makes face-to-face conversations, regardless of location, easy.

Be sure that these check-ins are beyond shop talk. Ask how each person’s day is going, what you can do to help, and which resources they may need to stay motivated at home.

2. Encourage Clear and Casual Communication

When you don’t have a communal breakroom to chat in, casual banter gets pushed to the wayside. However, this is how employees connect with one another and bond as a team.

Set aside time each day to casually talk to a coworker. Catch up on each other’s lives and engage in non-work-related conversations for a refreshing change of pace. This little break in the day may be just what someone needs to keep their motivation going!

PGi, CMO, Mark Roberts ensures he is on video for every meeting. “I hear a lot of small talk that doesn’t feel small. People are sharing what it’s like working through this unique and scary time. They’re trying to remain optimistic and share hope and humor as much as possible.”

Additionally, encourage employees to use clear communication. When we can’t sit is a room together, communication errors can arise. Clear, written communication is key for remote teams to collaborate and produce results effectively.

3. Focus on Results, Not Micro-Managing

Remote teams need to trust that each member of the group is doing their part. Typically, it’s quite obvious when part of the team is achieving their goals while others are slacking.

To combat this, many remote teams go the unfortunate route of requiring their teams to track every moment of their day. This micromanagement approach creates anxious and alienated workers who won’t be able to produce their best work under such strict conditions.

Instead, focus on the results your employees are producing rather than what they’re doing every minute of the day. Doing so will inspire and motivate them to perform their best at all times while working from home.

In the end, remember this is a trying time for everyone, and your co-workers are feeling the pinch just as much as you are. So be patient and stay postive. Interested in new ways to connect as a remote team? PGi’s suite of collaboration and communication tools will help your team link up seamlessly from anywhere in the world.

5 Genius Ways You Never Thought to Use Screen Sharing

If you’re like most people, you use screen sharing sparingly. You might use it for training, or to show a specific page or document. But with a little ingenuity, screen sharing can be an even more powerful tool. That’s because visual stimulation makes experiences more memorable and more persuasive.

This means that by designing your presentations and meetings visually, you can be more memorable and productive. Here’s how you can make that happen with screen sharing.

1. Virtual Whiteboard

Remote teams need a brainstorming canvas just as much as in-person teams do. Fortunately, there are now virtual whiteboards! Why not bring your team together around one of these via screen sharing? You might be surprised by the team spirit this tactic inspires.

2. Customer Onboarding

“Prevent trouble before it arises,” says ancient Chinese wisdom. Screen sharing is a highly effective way to preemptively address new customers’ confusion.

You don’t even need to require an onboarding call for all customers. If you offer the option, your less tech-savvy customers will comfortably self-select into your support queue. You’ll then be able to prevent early frustrations before they start. As a bonus, you’ll also get valuable feedback on your product’s user experience.

3. Data Visualization

When people see data changing before their eyes, it makes the data more interesting. As a result, you can create a lasting memory by sharing live data visualization.

For example, cybersecurity standards are notoriously hard to enforce. However, showing a realtime visualization of websites hacked today can evoke an emotion that drives home the importance of strong security.

4. Realtime Decision-Making

Marketing and creative teams often need to decide on images, slogans, colors, formats, and so on. But when you send options to team members via email, you can’t guarantee they’ll clear their heads to really think about what’s in front of them.

This is one situation in which screen sharing can add value. You can share your screen to bring people together around the options. Doing this also helps make sure everyone’s looking at the same options together.

5. Deeper Accountability

Again, visuals make memories. Something as simple as watching your name getting assigned to a task on-screen can reinforce your ownership. It’s basic brain science, but applying it goes a long way.

Harness This Power

Screen sharing is a popular tool, but many people don’t harness its power. When you apply it effectively, screen sharing can do a lot to catalyze focus and productivity. Why not use it to its full potential?

5 Tips for Giving a Great Presentation

Career growth often goes hand in hand with being able to deliver great presentations. It’s an essential skill that will help you stand out within the company and share your innovative ideas. However, for some people, presentation skills don’t always come naturally, and even the most comfortable presenter likely still has room for improvement.

Whether you’re a complete presentation newbie or a seasoned pro looking to refine your skills, we’ve gathered some tips from presentation experts to help you put your best foot forward.

Begin with a Quality Template

Alan Goeman, the CEO of eSlide.comRedirects to external site. says it’s essential to start with a good outline when creating a presentation from scratch. Choose a template that fits your needs in terms of font, font color, size, object and chart styles and theme. By getting the template out of the way at the beginning, you can focus on what’s really important: the content.

Be Conversational

Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence,Redirects to external site. recommends aiming for your content to speak to the average audience member rather than focusing on the people you most want to impress. Though an executive from your company might be in the front row, don’t focus on them. Aim for your content to speak to the mid-level employee a few rows back and keep your eyes focused in that area to help avoid feeling pressured.

Identify Three Main Points

Jacqueline Whitmore from EntrepreneurRedirects to external site. suggests structuring your content around three main points. Pick the key points that tell your story and make those the main pillars of your presentation. Begin by introducing your three points, elaborate on each, and then conclude by going over them once again to makes your presentation more memorable and easier to understand.

Tackle Your Slides Last

TedTalk UX Lead and presentation pro Aaron Weyenberg says a good approach is to save your slides for last. He suggests to not even think about the slides until you already have a vision of what your presentation is going to accomplish. Slides should not take center stage; you want your visuals to support a presentation that is already strong on its own. Outline your structure, build up an argument with supporting points, and thenpractice your presentation. Once you’ve done all of those, then it’s time to tackle your slides.

Say it With Images

It may be a cliché, but according to Andrew Scivally from eLearningBrothers.comOpens in new window and redirects to external site., when it comes to presentations, an image really is worth a thousand words. Because many people are visual learners, conveying your message with graphics and images can make a big impact. Focus instead on choosing informational images, like infographics or graphics, that teach your audience and support your text.

Above all, giving a quality presentation is about delivering your message in a clear and engaging manner. Try these expert tips the next time you’re tasked with giving a presentation to help sell your message and keep the audience interested and be sure to use effective software to deliver your message, especially if any attendees are dialing in remotely. [link to GlobalMeet page on your website]

Good luck!

Click here to learn more about how GlobalMeet Collaboration can help.

Keeping Your Business Operating During The COVID-19 Outbreak

Working from home is not always a luxury. Presently for some, it is a global mandate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested staying home or working remotely to avoid the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

“Schools could be closed, mass public gatherings suspended, and businesses forced to have employees work remotely,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

COVID-19 poses a significant threat to employees around the world, and currently there is an unprecedented rise in remote working. Businesses need to take a critical look at their emergency remote working plans and consider virtual events in lieu of in-person conferences or meetings.

While many companies have telework in place, this isn’t the case for all global companies. In fact, according to a recent study by OWL Labs, 38% of employees work on-site with no remote working opportunities. For businesses where this is the case, having an emergency remote working plan is critical to keep employees safe and keep your business operating with minimal disruptions during this difficult time.

GlobalMeet Facts

At PGi, our mission is simple: to help people connect. While we have focused on empowering organizations with collaboration technology for the past 29 years, regrettably, the impact of the COVID-19 has increased this need for global organizations. We’ve seen this rise in need firsthand with GlobalMeet:

  • Sign-ups for our free video conferencing offering are up 19X in impacted countries, including China, Hong Kong, Japan and Italy.
  • In the last week of February alone, we have seen a double-digit increase in usage with our GlobalMeet Collaboration platform around the world.
  • The number of webcasts delivered has increased 73% since companies around the world started to respond to the coronavirus. We expect that number to jump even more in March.

With the recent increase in GlobalMeet usage and sign-ups, it is PGi’s priority to deliver technology that helps quell concerns and enables companies to empower their employees to reduce travel and work remotely, anytime, anywhere, resulting in greater safety, peace of mind and productivity.

Now more than ever, as businesses manage through the coronavirus outbreak, new requirements are emerging. As more teams are scaling work from home efforts and hosting virtual events we are here to support you. Businesses around the world can take advantage of GlobalMeet Collaboration for free – no strings attached. This includes unlimited meetings for up to 125 participants, HD video, mobile apps and online meeting support. If you are looking to move a physical conference or meeting to a live virtual event please contact us.

Are You Ready?

The global spread of the virus will reveal whether companies are equipped to respond rapidly to sudden workplace changes. Businesses must face the possibility that your employees may need to work remotely for the foreseeable future. If your business doesn’t have a plan in place for remote working, then act now and create one.

Many companies are already getting out in front of the impending pandemic by promoting remote work and canceling all business travel. The Washington Post reports that “IBM, which nearly three years ago ended remote work for some U.S. employees, said it had asked workers in coronavirus-affected areas to work from home ‘wherever possible.’”

Even with an ongoing major health issue affecting the world, there are options for businesses to protect their employees while maintaining productivity. We want to help make sure you are prepared and can act quickly when the time comes.

Key Findings from The 2020 State of Remote Work

Key Findings from The 2020 State of Remote Work

The fully remote company, Buffer, makes a laudable workplace research contribution each year. They conduct an in-depth survey of thousands of remote workers. This year, the survey included 3,521 remote work employees across many nations, industries, organizations, and levels of experience. Of those:

  • 57% are fully remote
  • 25% work remotely at least 51% of the time
  • 8% work remotely 26-50% of the time
  • 10% work remotely 1-25% of the time

It’s also helpful to know that only 3% of those surveyed were solo business owners or freelancers. This survey is focused on remote workers who are part of larger teams. Here are our top takeaways from the report, which you can read in its entirety here.

Remote workers are happy with their decision.

98% of respondents said they would like to continue working remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers. 97% said they’d recommend remote work to a friend. Only 11% of those surveyed said they’d like to spend less time working remotely. While 19% said they’d like to work remotely more often.

Flexibility and the commute-free life are the biggest upsides.

The top three benefits of remote work, according to respondents are:

  1. Flexible schedule (32%)
  2. Flexibility to work anywhere (26%)
  3. Absence of a commute (21%)

Coworking spaces might not be as important as they seem.

“In the past three years, we haven’t seen more than nine percent of respondents claim that coworking spaces are their primary location for working,” the report reads. The authors find this “surprising, considering that some reports say that in the next two years there will be nearly 26,000 coworking spaces around the world.”

The two biggest challenges are loneliness and difficulties with collaboration.

“Over the past three years of putting out this report,” the article reads, “we’ve seen two unique struggles remain in the top three: the difficulties with collaboration/communication, and with loneliness.”

In 2020, loneliness and difficulties collaborating were tied for first place on the list of remote work challenges, with 20% of respondents citing each one as their top challenge. In 2019, these two issues took second and third place, respectively.

“Unplugging after work,” which was the number-one challenge in 2019, may have become a little easier for remote workers in 2020, taking third place this year instead. It’s worth noting here that last year, only 30% of the respondents were fully remote, whereas this year, that percentage rose to more than half. This could signal that loneliness and difficulty communicating/collaborating become bigger challenges for fully remote workers.

Two birds with one solution?

Both loneliness and collaboration/communication difficulties can be alleviated with well-designed video conferencing technology. Email alone is insufficient. Face-to-face contact through video-calls with HD video and audio can reduce loneliness. In addition, features such as screen sharing and recording can provide a comprehensive way to collaborate effectively.

Webcasting Solution Improves Global Employee Engagement for Belden Inc.

Webcasting Solution Improves Global Employee Engagement for Belden Inc.

For well over one hundred years, Belden Inc. has been a leading manufacturer of networking connectivity and software products for enterprise, industrial, broadcast and security markets. The St. Louis-based company has a large global presence with 9,000 employees on nearly every continent. With such a strong global presence, however, Belden struggled to fully meet its goal of being a world-class company in employee engagement, customer satisfaction and shareholder value.

Already a PGi customer, Belden knew it could rely on PGi for a cost-effective solution that would better communicate corporate updated and keep its executives in front of associates around the globe. iMeetLive®, PGi’s intuitive webcasting platform, quickly became the solution and standard method of communication to power its goals.

Belden utilizes iMeetLive to produce live streaming town halls to keep its associates in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia engaged with the company’s executives. Using iMeetLive, Belden has been able to reach its global network of employees through HD video and audio. The reliable, consistent experience during each town hall has not only impressed their CEO, but their employees as well.

“Not only is it easy for me to set up these web events, but thanks to the great user experience, employees from all over the globe are asking how they can use iMeetLive in their offices.”

-Michelle Foster, Corporate Communications Manager

For their smaller internal meetings, Belden also relies on another PGi product, GlobalMeet®. The web conferencing platform is Belden’s only IT-approved web conferencing solution and it has helped many employees with internal project management and updates, as well as training sessions. With GlobalMeet, Belden has experienced faster collaboration and more productive meetings.

“The consistency of use is a big thing for me. By using GlobalMeet, I’m able to meet with my teams and collaborate faster, making my meetings a 10 on the productivity scale,” said Michelle.

With employees across the world, Belden has found it much easier to utilize PGi’s webcasting and web conferencing solutions. From internal meetings to large corporate town halls, Belden has found a solution to achieve their communication goals.

Read the full Belden Inc. case study here.

How to Knock a Sales Pitch Out of the Park with Video Conferencing Tools

After a bit of experience in sales, you’ll notice that most buyers don’t decide based on logic. Most people decide to buy based on how they feel during their encounter with your product. They’ll later justify their feelings with logic. That’s why using face-to-face video conferencing tools is the best option when in-person selling isn’t possible.

Want to know how to sell effectively on video? Here are a few secrets to help you create that ready-to-buy emotion on a video call.

Sell a Feeling, Not a Product

During HubSpot’s pitch contest, G2Crowd gave a spot-on demonstration of selling of a feeling, not a product—in a 20-second elevator pitch. Although G2 is a software company, in this pitch, they’re selling authenticity. They’re not selling an SaaS solution; they’re selling the experience of hearing “real reviews from real users.” Listen for yourself here.

Position Your Capabilities

As top consultant Andy Raskin wrote in an essay on the greatest sales pitch he’d seen all year, “you’re Obiwan and your product (service, proposal, whatever) is a lightsaber that helps Luke battle stormtroopers.” You can watch him analyze that pitch in-depth at HYPERGROWTH 2018 here.

Video conferencing tools make it possible to slay those monsters in real time via product demos. When you give your demo, be sure to frame it as a story. First, show the monster—the problem your prospects are facing. Then, “slay” that monster before their eyes, showing the before-and-after and how your product brings peace and tranquility out of the chaos. At the end of your presentation, your audience should feel relieved that your product or offering came in to save the day.

One great example of this comes from Xactly, which automates the commission process for sales teams. This Xactly rep entices potential buyers with the promise of “getting you off an Excel spreadsheet or a home-grown, cumbersome system.”

Set the Stage

A video call is an opportunity to perform. Just as a rockstar prepares the lighting and stage setup in advance, a rockstar salesperson sets the stage for a video pitch. Take ownership of the “environment” in which you’ll be pitching. In other words, in advance of a call, you should:

  • Test the lighting conditions:If the room is either too bright or too dark, you might look shadowy or washed out. If you can, optimize your lighting by bringing in a lamp, changing the angle of the screen, or setting up a laptop near a bright window.
  • Control the soundscape:Distracting sounds can kill the ready-to-buy feelings you’re working to produce. Do what you can to eliminate background noise.
  • Clean up the area in the frame:Throw away that empty coffee cup in the background, and get cables, papers, or other messy objects out of the way to keep the attention on you.

Trust Your Tech

None of the above work is worthwhile if your call is going to be sabotaged by subpar audio quality, a spotty video connection, or other technical difficulties. Make sure you can trust your video conferencing tools to work flawlessly—every time. That’s how you can ensure a consistent professional presentation.

We can help with this part. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are using GlobalMeet to communicate with more than 100,000,000 people day in, day out.