How to Proactively Avoid Technology Problems in Meetings

Proactive planning to prepare for technology issues can reduce barriers and make meetings progress more smoothly. The following list walks you through what should be done before a meeting.

  1. A backup plan should be drafted, to be implemented if technology fails, thus ensuring that the meeting will continue. This plan should include:
    1. The amount of time you are willing to spend for technical trouble shooting before going to the alternate meeting plan.
    2. The number of interruptions you are willing to allow before going to the alternate meeting plan.
  2. The agenda and handouts should be made available to the participants in advance. This may be done through:
    1. Email.
    2. Inter-office mail.
    3. Posting on a shared drive or workspace.
    4. Any other method that works for all participants.
  3. A document or addendum should be included with the agenda explaining:
    1. The mechanics of communicating in the meeting.
    2. The meeting protocol (acceptable and unacceptable behaviors).
    3. The approximate time allowed for each speaker.
  4. The facilitator should arrive early to test equipment.
  5. When the meeting starts, the facilitator should:
    1. Test all connections for sound and visuals.
    2. Check with all sites to make certain they understand the mechanics of the system.
    3. Review the protocol.
Author: Sheri Schmeckpeper

Sheri Schmeckpeper holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Financial Management and Computer Information Systems as well as a Master's degree in Adult Education and Distance Learning. She is a Microsoft Certified Professional and Trainer. Sheri has implemented distance learning programs at three top institutions of higher education, has been a guest speaker on radio, and has presented at local and national training workshops. Her diverse background includes technology, education, interpersonal relations, finance, and management. Sheri has developed and facilitated courses in the areas of instructional technology and online learning, faculty development, communications, finance, and professional development and achievement. She is currently co-founder of the Institute for Instructional Excellence and directs the Center for Excellent Living where she is also a life coach.

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