Just as you’d tidy up the office and conference room before hosting VIPs in person, you’ll want to do the same for your web-based conference — especially if you plan on sharing your screen. As you prepare for your next web conference, take some time to prepare your computer for it too.
- Log in a couple hours early to make sure your web conferencing software is current. This will vary from one host to the next, but it’s not unusual for conferencing clients to prompt you to download the latest update when you sign in. Logging in a few hours before the scheduled time makes the update process less stressful than facing the uncertainty of a potentially long process right before the conference begins.
- Clean up your desktop before a web conference. Choose a professional-looking desktop wallpaper and clean up all those shortcuts. You could even create a separate desktop specifically for web conferencing. On a Mac, use Mission Control to create a new desktop. In Windows 10, you’ll use the Task View pane to create and switch between desktops.
- Turn off desktop notifications. Turn off notifications to prevent incoming emails, text messages, and other alerts from interrupting your web conference or revealing information you’d rather keep to yourself. Remember, not only are the audible beeps and chimes potentially disruptive, if you’re sharing your screen, your audience will see the actual notifications that appear before you.
- Exit out of unnecessary applications. Similarly, exit out of any open applications. While the apps are not likely to cause any interruptions on their own, you may inadvertently reveal a document in progress when tabbing through to another app.
- Position your webcam. Log into to your web conference software and view yourself through the webcam before the conference. First, look at the background. Is there a bright window behind you? If so, the lighting may make you appear as a silhouette. You could either close the blinds or change the angle. You’ll also want to clear any background clutter.
Before your web conference
Once you’re happy with the background, sit in front of the webcam as you would during the web conference. You may need to adjust the position or tilt of the monitor to better frame yourself. Raising or lowering your chair might also result in a more flattering, eye-level angel.
- Test your sound and microphone. How will you be handling the audio portion of the call? Will you wear a headset, use the computer’s audio, or use a speakerphone? Whichever choice you make, go ahead and run a quick test.
- Gather your files. Open your presentation and load the first slide. If you plan on launching various files or sharing YouTube videos, make sure those are ready to go and easy to find. If you’ve made a custom desktop for your conference, you could add shortcuts to your materials right on the desktop.
- Log into your web conference early. Even though your computer’s ready, it’s still smart to sign in early. This gives you a chance to double check your audio and video as well as personally greet participants as they join the call.