Professional All Hands Meeting Services

Great All Hands Meetings are the result of good planning and expert delivery. Creating them requires attention to the meeting purpose and the meeting tools. An online meeting is all about the tools, both the presenter tools and the viewer/participant tools. In this way, they are very different than in-person meetings. Before you begin, consider the meeting objective and then build from there. Use tools that will support your meeting objectives. TKO managed All Hands Meetings guarantee that the business objective is the focus of the meeting and not the complex technology necessary to make the connections happen.

4 Key Considerations for Online Meetings

1. Is Going Online Enough?

There is no comparable substitute for the energy of being among colleagues, presenters, and lively exchange of information. But, in a time of Social Distancing or in everyday work where teams are dispersed across short or long distances, the Internet and its tools for online collaboration offer important new means to connect ideas across distance and time. The key is in how you use these valuable tools.

Taking any meeting online, much less an important All Hands Meeting, is not as simple using cameras and microphones along with some cloud-based service like Zoom, Teams or WebEx. To really connect with a remote audience, these tools aren’t enough. The problem is that your meeting and message now compete with all the distractions and tools and even knowledge of how to use the tools in your remote audience. In short, Going Online is absolutely NOT ENOUGH. But going VIRTUAL is.

2. Is Online the Same as Virtual?

Online Meetings are often called Virtual Meetings, but they are different.

Online meetings are what the tools from Zoom’s Zoom, Cisco’s WebEx and Microsoft’s Teams are all about. These tools are well designed for collaboration, document and screen sharing and communicating with video rather than telephone audio only. But, they fall far short of replicating an actual in-person meeting or in creating a virtual version of an in-person meeting.

A presenter that is right in front of an audience or team rarely asks if everyone can see a presentation or hear their voice. It’s usually obvious that the audience can see and hear well. Conversely those same questions run throughout online collaboration meetings for good reason. In an online meeting run as an ad-hoc session without preparation, testing, rehearsal and planning, presenters genuinely aren’t sure whether they can be seen and heard. Not so with a Virtual Meeting.

In a Virtual All Hands Meeting, the fact that it is Online is incidental. The key attribute of the meeting is that it is planned and organized to replicate an in-person meeting and this makes a huge difference. For example, presentation tools and audio quality are checked and double checked prior to the session going live. In fact, presentations will often be managed by a technician and not a presenter so that there is high assurance that all Virtual Meeting attendees do, in fact, see the presentation.

Going Online with meetings is common and it works very well for small groups of people that are collaborating in their work on contracts, documents and drawings. In these meetings, the common question of whether everyone can see a screen or hear a presenter are not too distracting. But, for a Virtual All Hands Meeting where the audience of viewers can be in the hundreds or thousands, no presenter should have any doubt that a slide can be seen or that their voice is being heard. And so, the difference between going online versus going virtual is that a virtual meeting is managed so interactions are as though they were in-person and therefore they include the same expectations. In a virtual meeting you can expect that with the planning, rehearsals and use of technology that goes into the meeting, all aspects of the meeting will be reliable and of good visual quality.

3. Is Virtual Better or Worse than In-Person?

Conventional wisdom is that the best form of communication is person-to-person and the next best is person-to-group communication. The Pandemic of 2020 has changed that wisdom. In an environment of Social Distancing, distance becomes the greatest objective and challenge.

Collaborating online using tools such as Zoom Communication’s Zoom, Cisco’s WebEx and Microsoft’s Teams allows communication that is effective but NOT in-person and so it solves the distance problem. Taken alone, however, distance isn’t the only problem to be solved and so this is where a meeting that goes from Online to Virtual is critical.

Virtual Meetings are intended to replicate the entire aspect of in-person meetings including being confident of seeing and being seen, hearing and being heard. But, there is more. Virtual meetings engage. They have as an objective the desire for parties to communicate in the same ways as they would if they were together. So, interaction becomes a key attribute of Virtual Meetings as well. Interaction commonly takes the form of “CHAT” that allows viewers to ask questions. Interaction may also allow viewers to respond to surveys and to share ideas through word clouds or tests. Interaction can also be visual and this usually requires some form of moderation to be effective. The moderation allows management of the parties that are being seen by the meeting’s audience in an orderly and expected manner.

In some circumstances virtual meetings engender a broad array of audience involvement in a way that in-person meetings do not. Chat tools, even anonymous chat can be included in an All Hands Meeting and this can, and usually does, create broad audience participation. Anonymous “chat” is usually moderated by a Presenter’s Assistant and in this way, presenters can relinquish meeting management and focus only on meeting content. In the case were audience participation is desired, a Virtual Meeting is often significantly better than In-Person Meeting.

4. What are the technical challenges of Online and Virtual Meetings?

The contrast of technical challenges between Online and Virtual meetings versus In-Person meetings is significant. While In-Person meetings often require a significant amount of physical setup of microphones, cameras projectors and screens, Online and Virtual meeting require software, hardware such as Tablets, laptops and workstations. So, they both have physical requirements. The key difference is that Online/Virtual meetings generally require every single participant to have some hardware, software and technical understanding of how to attend the meeting. In fact, attending the meeting for an audience member of an Online event is often the most challenging part of the meeting for them. That is in stark contrast to attendees of an In-Person meeting whose sole technical challenge may only be to find the right location for the meeting on the right day.

Online meetings can be a technical free-for-all. The least technically proficient parties will have the greatest problems attending and maintaining their engagement in Online Meetings. This can be a detriment to many meeting attendees as network issues, software issues, and even simply not having rebooted a device recently can cause attendees to have problems with Online and Virtual Meetings.

Well run Virtual All Hands Meetings always have a Virtual Concierge function that is performed by the technical team. This Concierge role can be limited to a simple “chat for help” button on a web page or it can be a telephone hotline with staffed positions. Each Virtual All Hands Meeting will call for its own level of technical support and that will be related both to the meeting content and the expected audience. Planning and easy access to online help can moderate the technical challenges the Virtual All Hands Meeting attendees experience.

TKO customers use All Hands Meetings for -

  • Maintaining Employee Connections to the Organization
  • Organization Recurring Announcements
  • Important Time Critical Announcements
  • Organizational Changes
  • Employee Recognition
Primary Location Start Time

About TKO VideoConferencing

TKO VideoConferencing, a division of TKO Video Communications, provides Professional Grade event and meeting management for Business, Education, and Government. Services include Zoom Meeting Management, Microsoft Teams Meeting Management, video conference meetings, video conference events, Streaming, Video on Demand, Webcasting, and Webinars.

Contact TKO today for expert technical assistance for your next Town Hall Business Meeting.