Setting up a successful Web conference or Webinar requires certain criteria such as ensuring that participants have the same equipment and software as the host. Participants need to be notified of the correct date and time.
Prior to beginning the Web conference, it's a good idea to test the system, lighting and microphone location [source: AskMen.com]. You'll need a network card, camera, microphone and external speakers if using a computer-based or desktop system.
One of the most important things for any system is a coder/decoder (CODEC), which compresses and transmits audio and video signals to recipients. Some CODECs are stand-alone units and are used in studio-based systems. Less expensive video boards plug into your computer. Experts recommend that a specialist make the installation [source: AskMen.com].
Software that'll improve the transmission, such as SightSpeed and Access Grid, will improve image quality by removing unimportant information.
If you have control over equipment and network types at both ends of the connections, Web conferencing should be easy. If there are different network sites or service providers, it may be necessary to work with a Web conference provider such as Premiere Global or WebEx that offers network bridges to translate ISDN and IP calls [source: WireOne].
A multipoint control unit (MCU) will be needed to combine incoming calls from different locations into a single conference.
Some tips for successfully conducting a Web event include:
- installing an extra monitor so participants can see themselves
- using the mute button when not speaking to avoid echo
- redialing or rebooting the system to adjust the conference quality
- keeping spare batteries on hand
When speaking to others during a Web conference, always look into the camera and speak clearly and slowly. Before responding to a comment, pause briefly and limit any background movement [source: AskMen.com].
For the conference, dress carefully, wearing clothing appropriate for the event. When selling an idea, experts recommend leaning in towards the camera. Sit straight and still in the conference chair -- don't slouch or move around in the chair.
If you're nervous about the prospect of appearing on screen, experts say it's a good idea to practice with a friend or colleague, or make a video at home and review it [source: CareerJournal.com].
Security is an important factor in Web events. Financial, health and other sensitive information will be shared over the Internet, for example, and security measures are important.
Information is stored temporarily on a shared Internet server while a Web conference is in progress. To protect that information, using a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is vital. SSLs encrypt information so it won't be readable to anyone other than the targeted audience by moving the information alternatively from the conference host computer to participants' computers.
Many software companies, such as WebEx, Cisco and Premiere Global provide security options for users. At the site level, managers can issue passwords and usernames to invitees to control security.
On the next page, we'll talk about connecting into video Web conferences.