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How do I Start a Web Conference? Let me count the ways!
August 12, 2008 @ 06:47 AM | By Guest Blogger

All leading web conferencing service providers strive for ‘ease of use’.  This often begins with, what else, actually starting the web conference!  InterCall Web Meeting, InterCall’s proprietary unified meetings tool, is no exception. Opportunities to start a web conference present themselves at every corner (of your computer desktop that is).

Since this is my first blog entry, I felt it would be appropriate to focus on the theme of beginnings. But more specifically, the options available for “beginning” a web conference – Oh…ok, starting a web conference.  But first, I’ll take a step back to mention the short list of requirements needed to begin and lead a web conference: a computer, internet connection (dial-up will do, but high-speed is better) and a telephone (landline or cellular).  You may also want to throw in a web camera.  Displaying your smiling mug is sure to assist in reducing your audience’s ever present urge to peek into inboxes or open other windows.  Now that you have your basic tools, it’s time to begin…

Most web conferencing services offer a variety of methods for starting your virtual meeting, whether ‘on-the-fly’ or scheduled in advance.  InterCall Web Meeting for example offers five. This typically boils down to one action - a click of your mouse!  Your next question may be, ‘but where do I point my mouse?’, and here is where the fun begins.

Sept9outlookintegration 1. E-Mail Invitation
My favorite method for starting a web conference is through the e-mail invitation.  Most products integrate with calendaring systems such as Outlook.   When Invitations are created, links are automatically inserted into the email invitation and the calendar entry.  As the ‘organizer’ of the meeting, clicking the link from either location will get you to the meeting on time.  You are always just a link’s click away from meeting nirvana!

2. Office Programs
WebEx and Microsoft Live Meeting (both offered by InterCall) have the ability to start a web conference instantly from within applications such as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.  When you’re on a conference call reviewing a report you’ve emailed to several people, frustration with “Mr. Readahead” may set in.  An option to “stop the madness” does exist.  Depending on your chosen service, the option to launch a web conference directly from the document may exist so that you can share it at your pace

Sept9desktopicon 3. Desktop Icon
Most web conferencing services enable the presenter/host to start a meeting from the desktop icon with as little as one click, often not more than two.  What is a desktop icon?  It is that little shortcut image on your desktop that usually displays a little fancy logo created by the company supplying the service.  WebEx’s Meeting Center (also offered by InterCall), offers the “One Click” meeting, for immediate start of a virtual meeting.

4. Browser
A virtual meeting may also be started by opening a new browser window and entering your web conferencing service URL (i.e. https://companyname.webex.com or https://companyname.on.intercall.com).  Automatic login does not apply here and therefore is not as turn-key, but this will come in handy when working remotely (from a computer other than your own).

Sept9startmenu 5. Start Menu
If your service of choice required a download, chances are it shows up as a program on your desktop.  If that is the case, you can locate and open the program directly from the Start Menu.

Even if a web conference is only needed occasionally, starting your web meeting is just like riding a bike - no one forgets how to use a desktop shortcut icon, do they?  With client based services like InterCall Web Meeting, the service remembers your login credentials so there is no need to memorize these each time.  As long as you have access to your desktop, you can fire up your web conferencing engine! 

Gentlemen (and Ladies)… Start your Web Conference!

Kristen Kristen Kosnak is an Associate Product Manager and one of our “Web Conferencing” bloggers.  Kristen has been with InterCall for five years in a variety of facets within sales and product management. She currently manages InterCall Web Meeting, InterCall’s proprietary web conferencing platform. When not collaborating on a web conference, Kristen enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter or soaring down a trail on her mountain bike.

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Kevin Horn

I concur on the email invitation. That's by far the easiest and most seamless way to get meetings scheduled. InterCall Web Meeting, WebEx and Live Meeting all have great Outlook plugins that make this the simplest method for starting and joining meetings.

Here's how to get the plugins if you don't have them already:

InterCall Web Meeting. Outlook integration is already built in. If it's not enabled, simply open InterCall Web Meeting (from the desktop icon) and go to Tools>Enable Outlook Integration. Next time you start Outlook, you'll see the InterCall Web Meeting toolbar that lets you create meeting invites.

WebEx MeetingCenter. You can download the latest productivity tools including Outlook integration from the 'download' section at: www.intercall.com/mchelp

Microsoft Live Meeting. You can download the latest Add-In pack which includes Outlook integration from the 'download' section at: www.intercall.com/lmhelp

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