Open Audience blog Here Be Dragons Navigating New Territory with Video Conferencing

Here Be Dragons: Navigating New Territory with Video Conferencing

“Problems disappear when we are willing to become flexible.” – Roxana Jones, Life Coach

Zoom, Teams, Skype, Adobe Connect, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Pexip. The vast number of video conferencing platforms and technology solutions available provide businesses with many options for their virtual meetings.

At the same time, however, this choice and trying to understand the differences between each platform can make technology more of a distraction than an enabler.

This is not how it should be. From experience, we know which platforms work best in given situations, but we’re also aware of the restrictions that organisations face due to internal or even external protocols. For example, organisations in India can’t easily use Zoom and instead use Pexip, which is based on a mixture of Zoom and Skype.

And while Zoom is a very adaptable platform, the early and now broadly resolved issue of ‘Zoom bombing’ – where hackers and trolls disrupt video conferences – led many corporations to swear off the platform. Although Zoom has since recruited high-powered cyber security specialists, once corporations have moved away from a technology, they tend not to go back on decisions easily.

None of this, however, should matter to organisations wanting to set up a virtual meeting or to the delegates attending.

One role of audience engagement consultants, such as Open Audience, should be to remove that complexity, determine the restrictions businesses face and provide a suitable, platform agnostic solution.

The way I view it is that it is our role to navigate uncharted territory, find our way through the rocks without a well-defined map and make sure clients avoid any traps. It’s ‘Here Be Dragons’ territory, but it’s our job to adapt, to be flexible and to create a plain sailing experience for clients. The skill of the meeting facilitator is in not panicking if we don’t immediately know the answer.

It’s a voyage of discovery and we know that one of those solutions listed at the start will fit the client’s needs. We have a team that is adept at blending platforms and connecting different pieces of the puzzle to avoid the pitfalls of the unknown.

All too often, we see companies pressured to buy a platform that will fail to deliver what they had hoped it will. Let me stress, you don’t need to buy a platform. You simply need to know what you want out of your meeting, what you can and can’t do depending on organisational constraints, and what your budget point is. It’s about the flexibility and your meeting facilitator’s ability to adapt to your needs and budget – the ‘Bronze’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Gold’ of meeting provision, if you will.

The point of a virtual meeting is to have an experience that is interactive and engaging for the delegates. Creating that interactive experience is what matters.

We’ll do our due diligence to work out the most commonly used platform within an organisation and we’ll run the meeting on that solution – adapted to the needs, level and objectives of the organisation, be it private enterprises or the public sector. The dragons, or unknowns, are for us to navigate and deal with.

Leslie Robertson is the Founder of Open Audience, an audience engagement consultancy that specialises in making life sciences meetings more engaging with more positive, successful outcomes – whether in-person or in the virtual space. The Open Audience team helps to strategise and prepare pre- and post-meeting as well as providing real-time support and guidance during the meeting. Open Audience also offers customisable, multilingual engagement platforms that include interactive polling, surveys, and ideas exchange.