Meetings are an unavoidable part of every organization. With remote and distributed work forces becoming the norm, it’s crucial for teams to be able to communicate effectively, even when they aren’t sitting in the same room. Conference room technology is a necessity to bring people together for meetings. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work as smoothly as companies would like. Here are seven common problems with conference room technology to watch out for and prevent.
1. Bad Connections
How many minutes of our lives have we wasted in meetings, enthusiastically working through a presentation, only to find that we were disconnected ten minutes ago and the audience outside of the room missed everything? And how many meetings have started with a frantic scramble to connect the conference room technology to external users, only to be met with a spinning page loader wheel? It’s a frustrating waste of time.
Bad connections aren’t limited strictly to disconnects, either. They cause faint and chopped-up audio, as well as pixelated video. Whether it’s from a weak wifi signal or an overloaded network, a poor connection can completely derail a meeting. Consider upgrading your ISP plan for a more reliable connection and always save your presentation on an external device in case your connection drops.
2. The Wrong Connections
There is nothing worse than prepping for a big meeting and arriving to find that your laptop dongles don’t fit the A/V machines in the conference room. Dongles are among the devices that create a connection between a laptop and the projector, monitor, or other conference room machines. While multi-device dongles and connectors exist, it’s not always intuitive which connector to use for which machines, creating complexity for meeting organizers and delays for attendees. Instead of dongles, try wireless screen projection for a faster, easier connection.
3. Complex Logins
Many conference room tools have security logins that are comparable to Fort Knox. By the time users figure out the password configuration and connect to the meeting, they’re already late. There is not much that is worse than watching the clock tick away while you sit listening to hold music, waiting for a meeting to start, all while the meeting organizer may be scrambling on the other end to enter a login. Simple is better when it comes to logins for conference room technology. Try using a solution that requires one simple click on a URL instead of a complicated string of numbers.
4. Lack of Face-to-Face Communication
One of the most frustrating problems of all when it comes to conference room technology is the inability to see who is talking and when they begin to speak. It leads to people talking over each other, staggering levels of repetition and distraction from the point being made. Video technology greatly reduces the issue of miscommunication and over-talking, but only if it’s implemented and used, and if the connection is strong enough to support it.
5. Confusing Input Options
Some conference room machines have an overwhelming number of connections. It’s nearly impossible to choose the right input for the right dongle and then coordinate the laptop with the monitor so that the display is accurate. It gets the meeting off on the wrong foot when valuable time is wasted hitting buttons on a remote in hopes that content will show up on the screen. To alleviate confusion, try using devices that integrate hardware and software and connect with a simple HDMI cable—no more input roulette.
6. Distracting Delays
Akin to the issue of attendees talking over one another is the issue of connection delays. Delays are distracting to both the presenter and the audience. They can either happen as a result of a slow audio or wifi connection and are another chief culprit for wasted time and the need to repeat information. When two pieces of conference room equipment (in the same room or across the globe) fail to communicate properly, the resulting delay can lead to miscommunication and annoyed attendees. Enlist the help of an A/V expert or IT professional to test connections and network bandwidth if delays are a consistent issue. A connectivity upgrade may be in order to eliminate delays once and for all.
7. Echoes and Feedback
When the presenter is joined by a chorus of echoes of his or her own voice, it becomes nearly impossible for meeting attendees to stay focused on the message being presented. The same goes for feedback and background noise or crackling when someone is speaking. Suddenly, the extraneous noise is all that attendees can hear, and the meeting must be rescheduled or recounted in an email. Have the meeting organizer or an A/V expert test all of the connections prior to the meeting start. If that isn’t possible, be prepared to manually mute microphones to alleviate distracting echoes and feedback from other attendees.
When conference room technology doesn’t work as it should, time is wasted, people get frustrated, and companies lose money. For external meetings, technology issues can even have a negative impact on your brand. If the primary goal of conference room technology is to bring people together, then the technology itself must work correctly to support that mission.