Video conferencing meetings help an organization get more productive by acting as an invaluable communication tool. Video conferencing tools helps in creating a bridge across geographical barriers.
Technological advancements especially, high speed streaming enables video conference participants get a rewarding for experience. Video conferencing has also been boosted by popular services like Skype and Google+ which are very convenient and affordable to use.
In order for video conferencing to be effective in a meeting you need to understand how to use it properly. From the technical setup to the conversational do’s and don’ts, there is a lot that needs to happen to achieve a successful virtual meeting.
Video chats can take up to thousands of hours per week for some companies hence it is important to learn some awesome video conferencing tips. These hacks are easy on the pocket will help participants save on time, money and ensure efficiency by engaging in productive dialogue.
Here are some great hacks that will ensure your video conference works smoothly.
1. Punctuality – Always be on time for the call, in fact being a few minutes early helps in making sure everything is working as it should. Make sure your conferencing apps are up and running before the start of the meeting.
2. Setup – Ensure the video camera is connected and working properly by testing it before the call. Eye-level cameras provide a more personal touch. They are convenient as you do not have to keep looking up or down. In case you are in a large room, wide angle cameras will capture everyone in the boardroom.
Lighting is a major part of video chats; just like photography and that is part of the reason phones and cameras have a flashlight. In most cases natural light in a room is not the best. Artificial light reflected on the wall would be a better option. You could also try adding a whiteboard as a background.
Make sure your earphones and microphones are also working as they should to avoid echoes and feedback. In case the video feed is interrupted always make sure you have a backup. HD voice calling has a great natural sounding audio.
In case you are on a laptop setup make sure the power plugged in as video quality can decrease to save on battery power.
3. Formal Introduction – Introduce yourself before speaking so that all participants know who is talking. This helps in establishing and recognizing roles in the organization. Video conferences may be recorded for future reference. Formal introduction can be used as a basis for reference in case of future clarifications.
4. Dress code – Dress appropriately for all video chats as you would in face-to-face meetings. It doesn’t matter if it is 3.am and you are in your pajamas; the other participants expect a professional dress code.
In choice of clothing always go for light colors that are not too distracting. Striped shirts with complex patterns sometimes can be distracting to some web cameras. Avoid dark colors if your lighting is not too bright.
5. Phones and other electronic gadgets – Always turn off the sound on your phone and other devices that may distract the meeting. It goes without saying that texting should be avoided unless it is absolutely necessary.
6. Onsite chats – In case you are having side conversations with other participants onsite make sure the remote participants are cued in the conversation. If you have to talk to someone next to you in the room make sure all participants are included, otherwise it would look unprofessional to whisper to someone while in a meeting.
7. Meeting cues – Establish visual cues like hand gestures when one wants to contribute. These cues are useful a maintaining order, saving time and makes the meeting more productive.
8. Video recording – Video recording is a great tool for effective video conferencing during meetings. It is a great tool to keep records of important meetings and interviews. After the video call you can take get a complete transcript of the call, noting down the important bits.
In the case of training courses through video chat, a recorded copy would be great for future reference. Video recording in most cases requires consent from all the participants.
One drawback of recording may be how different people engage themselves in the meeting. Especially in high pressure meetings some participants may be overwhelmed by a camera recording of their boss asking why the reports are indicating negative performance. One way you could try overcoming this drawback is asking the facilitator to go off-record for a bit while you speak on a certain subject matter.
Video recordings can also act as promotion tool especially when the conference involves pitching new ideas. Management may go back on your idea that you presented at the meeting and decide to reward you with a promotion,
9. Audio mute – Video chats may involve a large number of participants and each gets to speak at a time. In case another participant is speaking and there are background noises that could disrupt the meeting, audio mute could come in handy.
A microphone can pick up noises from your surrounding environment like sirens or even keyboard strokes. Audio mute function helps the participants stay connected and alert during the meeting. Muting your audio is helpful in sending signals to the moderator that you are actively listening. In case you have something to share unmute your microphone and after you have the cue you can proceed. Alternatively you can get noise and echo cancelling microphones.
10. Video mute – Video mute is helpful in case you need a second to adjust something in the environment or your appearance. It is also helpful in merging all participants during the meeting. If one or more participants scheduled to attend the meeting are not yet present, they can be represented by a blank screen. Once they come back online you can unmute the video function and the blank screen is replaced by the actual person’s video feed.