How To Guide: A beginner’s guide to online meetings, workshops & streaming

So many of us are trying to get online as quickly as possible to host meetings, network, speak to family, deliver workshops and courses and stream our content.

Being able to deliver your services this way or keep effectively communicating with your colleagues, clients or customers is an essential part of riding this moment .

Many of you are beginners at this so I have compiled a quick and easy guide to help you get online professionally and effectively.

  1. Choose a platform that works for you. Here are some great ones:
    • Zoom – my favourite and easy to use. Free so long as your ‘meeting’ isn’t over 40 minutes. It quick & easy to schedule meetings with a simple URL to send out to participants. Allows multiple users to join you & good effective screen sharing facilities.
    • Microsoft Teams – a more comprehensive team management tool allowing you to host online video calls and meetings while effectively managing project, chats, conversations and sharing document.
    • Facebook Workplace – free and easy to use especially if you have a team to connect with
    • Google Hangouts – easy to use and allows for multiple participants. Simple and free to use.
    • Blue Jeans – there is a cost to this one but allows you to live stream on the paid version.
    • Facebook LIVE – live streaming to your chosen audience – either to the world or maybe just to a private Facebook group
    • Youtube LIVE – includes a chat option and up to 10 presenters.
    • LIVE streaming on Twitter – no chat but ideal for fun or informative real time information sharing.
    • Instagram LIVE – really as above.
  2. Equipment you might need.
    • Essentially you only need a phone or laptop and wifi to go but there are some useful tools that might make things better below.
    • Microphone – your microphone on your device might not be suitable especially for ‘teaching’ or ‘presenting’ anything. Use headphones with a microphone or buy a cheap USB plugin online that helps cut out outside noise.
    • Good bright lighting behind your screen. You don’t want to be standing in front of a window or bright light because your audience will only see a silhouette but you do want to be in a well lit space.
    • A great background. I don’t think it’s essential to have a super professional background but you might not want to share your pants on the radiator! Think of a small space in the house that has great connection & a plain background. I even use a corner of my bedroom when on calls if my office wifi has gone wayward.
  3. Recording your meeting. There are some very valid reasons for recording your online moments. Here are some useful tips [remember to let people know that you are recording if they are in it!]:
    • You want your video, meeting, demonstration to be available to everyone afterwards – make sure that you choose to record your session (on Zoom you have two options to save on your device or in the cloud. I choose cloud because the device option has let me down before now).
    • You are conducting a client call and your ant to refer back to your conversation later to make notes or a report.
    • If you only want your face to be in the recording make sure that you have set the screen correctly during your recording e.g. not split screen when both participants are visible in equal measure.
    • Editing your recording is important if your dog barked in the middle of proceedings or you picked your nose. It’s not difficult (refer to the How to Guide on this) and I use iMovie (Apple devices only), Clipchamp (all devices) & Vimeo. You can simply cut bits out or add some intro music or a simple title.
  4. Where will your online moment be seen?
    • On your website. If your website has enough storage you can add it directly BUT if you do this a lot your storage might buckle. An alternative is to upload your video to Youtube or Vimeo first. If you want your content to only be ‘findable’ to your customers, the make sure the video remains ‘unlisted’ by clicking the check box when you upload. You could also make the page on your website password protected to provide even more exclusivity.
    • Live streaming. This is easy to do on both Facebook or as an Instagram LIVE story. Alternatively you can stream on Twitter using your phone app or Youtube LIVE. Remember to invite people to look out for your streaming so that you have an audience. Decide if you are ‘broadcasting’ so that you have a clear purpose, message or piece of information or if you are trying to start a conversation using chats or comments (Twitter might not be great for this).
    • An invited audience ‘meeting’ in Zoom or another online meeting tool. This is ideal for paid for lessons or demonstration like yoga. You will send out the link to join only to those who are invited or who have paid. This would also work for a group chat or virtual networking event. Again, you can choose if you will record this session for future release to an even wider audience.
  5. Will your online idea work? Is it really worth it? There are so many ways that delivering services online is a good idea. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices going!
    • Share your expertise with free snippets of advice and ideas consistently.
    • Offer an online version of your workshop, course or lessons.
    • Entertain your audience with life at home or head office even in difficult times.
    • Inspire your audience with your place or location (especially if you want them to visit it in the future)
    • Provide food or drink tasting sessions to showcase your favourites or own products
    • Broadcast cooking lessons or healthy eating recipes
    • Offer online coaching, support or consultancy
    • Provide one to one real time help directly to your clients using features like screen share
    • Encourage your audience to sign up for VIP access to new content that will provide solutions straight to the inbox.
    • Demonstrate how you make your products to inspire people to buy
    • Demonstrate how to use your products to encourage them to buy – even for gift items – could you do a wrapping lesson?
    • Demonstrate your wider knowledge e..g if you sell wedding dresses, can you now offer a tutorial on fitting, colour matching, fabric choices to inspire for when hey do buy in the future.
    • Share a diary of life inside to help your audience get to know you better
    • Build a whole new online course (the one you planned but never did)

I hope that this has inspired you to lose the fear of online meetings, videos and more. Next up is a video How to Guide to Zoom.