by Lisa Grimaldi | July 01, 2007

The following checklist was compiled with the assistance of Megan Kirst, president of Kingman, Ariz.-based Global Videoconferencing Solutions;

Determining Needs

  • Will the videoconference be held point-to-point or multi-point? (Point-to-point is between two locations; multi-point is between three or more locations.)
  • Can the videoconference be held at your office or venue, or will it be necessary to rent a videoconferencing facility?
  • If a multipoint videoconference is planned, does the facility have a multipoint bridge? If not, an outside bridging provider will be needed.
  • What type of connection will be used? It is standard to use a private IP network, the Internet or ISDN lines. The more bandwidth you have available, the better the image will be.
  • How many participants will be at each location? Ensure that all participants will have adequate visibility and will be covered by cameras and microphones.
  • What support equipment will be needed? If any video or computer presentations are scheduled, a computer scan converter or VCR might be required.
  • Initial Preparations

  • At what time will the videoconference be held? Many international videoconferences occur at odd hours of the day and night. Provide coffee and tea if it is scheduled in the early morning or late evening.
  • Give all participants the conference agenda, including the date, time and a complete list of participants.
  • Brief participants on instructions or a contingency plan in the event of technical difficulties.
  • Consider using a facilitator to ensure full participation, especially if the videoconference will be multipoint.
  • Build in time for audience interaction.
  • Advise participants not to wear patterned clothing or shiny jewelry.
  • Give a list of participants at each location to all involved.
  • Setting Up

  • What type of equipment are remote sites using? Most domestic videoconferences are conducted via an H.320 or H.323 system.
  • What are the ISDN numbers for the remote site or sites?
  • Set up a test call a few days in advance to ensure compatibility between local and remote sites and systems.
  • Be sure video equipment is on and working at least 30 minutes before the meeting is scheduled to begin.
  • Adjust camera angles. Ideally, no more than 10 percent of the picture should be above participants’ heads.
  • To reduce glare, make sure curtains/blinds are drawn.
  • During the Videoconference

  • Introduce participants at all locations and outline the meeting’s agenda.
  • Follow the agenda to maximize time- and cost-effectiveness.
  • Advise participants to address one another by name to avoid confusion during interaction (and for audiotapes).
  • To reduce background noise, put participants in a “listen-only” mode when they are not speaking.
  • Present information in short segments for better audience retention and smoother Q&A sessions.
  • Use colorful visual aids such as charts and graphs to communicate key points.
  • Note that international connections might have slight delays in response time. Time comments to avoid overlap and interruptions.
  • Following Up

  • Distribute conference minutes to all participants.
  • Make audiotapes, videotapes or DVDs of the event available to participants and to those who could not attend.
  • Notes: