No self-respecting business professional today is going to undertake even the simplest of tasks without the aid of the Internet. So if you want to showcase your high-tech savvy in a meeting, you will want to take full advantage of what the Web has to offer.

Meeting Preparation
We all realize that the Web is an invaluable research tool. However, you can also use the Web to simplify your meeting planning.

For example, if youíre in charge of an off-site meeting, you could visit a meeting planning site. Some sites will allow you to enter your details (destination, dates and budget) and will then e-mail a selection of possible meeting options to you. Alternatively, you could use the Web to enlist the services of a meeting planner and outsource the entire process. Just search the Internet for "meeting planners".

Presentations
Meetings today are consuming much of our work time. When your colleagues are inundated with information, the onus is on you to make your presentation interesting and memorable. Here is where the Web can be extremely handy.

For example, you may be in a meeting to formulate a marketing strategy. You can link to your competitorís site during this session in order to evaluate its latest activities.

Alternatively, you can let the Web present for you. Many sites offer live daily reports, so instead of summarizing the dayís major financial activities, you can have a real-time video presentation deliver the information to your group.

For a high-pressure presentation, many people would rather avoid linking to live sites, because of connection problems. You can get around this problem through hyperlinking.

You can also deliver your entire presentation via the Web. Many software packages (such as PlaceWare 2.0) will convert your PowerPoint slides to an HTML presentation that can be viewed online. But Webcasting software takes this one step further, incorporating audio, video, and animation into your HTML slides. Sophisticated Webcasting packages offer polling options, chat rooms and messaging. Web-based delivery makes your presentation more engaging for the audience, and more cost effective as it can be shown live around the world.

Follow-up
Since the entire point of a meeting is the resulting follow-up rather than the meeting itself, it makes sense to use the Web after the meeting too. Web presentations can be saved and revisited by attendees to clear up murky concepts. They can also be viewed by absent colleagues and other relevant parties. Polling, archiving and text transcripts are all valuable feedback tools offered with Webcasting software.

So instead of simply rushing off to your next meeting, use the Web as a research and information source, a presentation and follow-up tool, and finally, as an actual meeting space.

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1. Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Seals and DavidWeinberger. The Cluetrain Manifesto.


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