We all know how important face-to-face meetings with legal clients can be. Phone calls and emails have their place, but when it comes to sharing information vital to your client’s case, oftentimes a meeting in your office is the best way.
But sometimes face-to-face meetings are out of the question, whether due to scheduling issues or distance. In that case, web conferences are the best alternative. And, as technology improves, web conferencing is increasingly becoming a viable option. The trick is to use the right equipment and software.
If you’re not sure where to start, you’re in luck: this topic was covered in depth at ABA Techshow earlier this year during a presentation titled “Meetings With Clients Made Easy And Convenient.” During this talk, Heidi Alexander and Kate Jasaitis shared tips on the best tools, equipment, and practices for web conferences with legal clients, while Stephanie Crowley took visual notes of this session on behalf of MyCase.
The visual notes from that session can be found below along with some of our favorite tips and links to sites that provide further information (click to view larger image):
1. Choose the right audio equipment
First and foremost, it’s important to choose reliable audio equipment. Otherwise meeting attendees won’t be able to communicate. The presenters stressed the importance of using a microphone and headset in order to improve the sound quality and reduce ambient noise and also suggested considering a mobile headset. The quality of your headset and microphone are obviously important, so carefully research your options prior to choosing your audio equipment. For more tips on improving web conferencing audio, check out this post.
2. Choose the right web conferencing software
There are plenty of options when it comes to web conferencing software. Some are free and others are not. Which one you choose depends on your needs, specifications, desired features, and affordability. According to the presenters, some popular options include GoToMeeting, Uber Conference, Schedule One, and Video Counsel. For a full list of choices, consider the software options listed and described in this blog post.
3. Apply best practices to your web conference
The presenters offered a number of great best practice tips for web conferences with clients. First, it’s important to choose a reputable provider. For tips on vetting software providers, make sure to check out the list of questions for vendors in this post from the MyCase blog. Next, choose software that is easy to use and intuitive. Otherwise both parties will struggle with getting the conference up and running. Also, make sure to mute your line when you’re not speaking; doing so will reduce ambient noise and reduce interference. Finally, in order to reduce distractions, make sure to close all unnecessary applications running on your computer and turn off notifications.
4. Hold an efficient meeting
And, last, but certainly not least, take steps to ensure that your online meeting runs efficiently and smoothly. Send out calendar invites to everyone that state the purpose and timeframe for the meeting. Also, test the software beforehand so that you won’t encounter any unexpected glitches. Next, create and circulate an agenda to meeting participants–and stick to it! And if you’re planning to record the meeting, make sure you have everyone’s permission to do so. For more tips on running an efficient meeting, check out this blog post.