Presumably, we’ve all been on a Lync conference call where there may be a presentation going on and in parallel to the voice conversation, there’s a rampant side-channel of IM traffic which the presenter has no chance of keeping up with or maybe even seeing. One or two company car drivers may have experienced this, recently… Still, it’s not like the old MCI conference call days, at least… (Everyone’s been on one of those calls…)
There are a few simple ways to make the experience for both presenter and attendees better, however. Step one: please don’t present a PowerPoint by sharing your screen (since you won’t be seeing the Lync window so you can’t tell what people are writing about you) – this was covered back in ToW #111, but in summary, it’s a whole lot better (on network performance, on usability for attendees, on UX for the presenter) if you upload the presentation and deliver it within the Lync meeting. More here.
If you have your PowerPoint file in email, try dragging it onto your Desktop (temporarily), then click on the PowerPoint option under the Manage Presentable Content option within the Lync meeting. Should the file already be somewhere else on your PC, you could navigate to it within Explorer and
right-click on the file whilst holding down the SHIFT key, and select “Copy as path” to copy the full file path and name to the clipboard. When you then click the PowerPoint option, just paste the name in and it will immediately upload your file.
It does need a little planning in advance, as it takes some time to upload and process the file (depending on the size & complexity of the presentation). Presenters can upload multiple PPTs to the same meeting, and then switch between them at will – so if you have 2 or 3 people presenting, they could each be uploading their files in the background – being careful to not accidentally start presenting in the middle of someone else’s spot.
Q&A and Polls
If you’re running a Lync meeting with lots of attendees, then it might make sense to switch off the “meeting IM” noise channel, and instead use a managed Q&A system to collect input from attendees and provide answers that can later be exported and sent around. Start the process by going back into the Manage Presentable Content section and kick off a Q&A (assuming you are a presenter) – if you’re in the middle of presenting some other content, this will surface as a tab on the “stage” to the right of the Lync window. Both attendees and presenters can switch between these tabs at will.
Q&A sessions allow people to ask questions and any of the “presenters” in the meeting can supply answers that don’t interrupt the meeting; attendees can see each other’s questions (and filter out the noise of others to show only their own, important, queries) and presenters can also start & stop the whole Q&A process, resuming meeting IM as appropriate, and can also save a transcript of all the Q&A to distribute later.
Polls also feature in much the same way – similar to Yammer or older LiveMeeting polls, you can ask a question and get people to vote on the responses provided – with attendees seeing the Poll show up in the “Presentation” tab, while presenters can manage more options about whether people can see each other’s responses etc.
If the presenter is following best practice and using PowerPoint presentations within the Lync client, then s/he will be able to switch at will between PPTs and Polls, smoothly and professionally. Just go back into the same menu option as before, and you’ll be able to switch between multiple PPTs or Polls in the “Presentable Content” section.
If you’re going to host a Lync meeting with more than a handful of people, it’s worth having a practice with these features. Don’t show up looking like a rank amateur.