Video conferencing saves businesses time and money, eliminates the restrictions of distance, and can increase productivity. As video conferencing gains popularity, it has become increasingly important that business owners and employees understand how to properly use the technology. To improve your experience through proficiency and etiquette, check out our video conferencing tips.
Video Conferencing Tips
Learn how to use the technology.
Firstly and most importantly, prevent technical difficulties by conducting a test run. If you haven’t used this technology before, contact your AV company for help. Now is the time to ask questions and anticipate concerns. In addition, check that you don’t need to update your computer’s software or make any other technological changes.
Before the conference begins, test your microphone with a colleague to check the volume and sound quality. Then, join the conference early in case you confront any connection problems. Finally, after the conference, be sure to end your connection and turn off the program before doing anything else.
Especially if this is a crucial conference with someone important (a client, your boss, a prospective employer), thoroughly plan ahead before the conference begins. First, check that you have everything you need at your fingertips: important data, a list of topics to hit, resources, visual aids, etc. Next, control the background. Set up your camera in a professional environment and eliminate any background noise. Make sure that the lighting is adequate and reliable as well. Finally, minimize interruptions by notifying your colleagues (or roommates, family, etc.) of the conference beforehand. You could also place a note on the door of the room, alerting anyone who might enter that you’re busy with a video conference.
Some people take video conferences far less seriously than in-person conferences. Don’t make this mistake. Whether you’re at home or in the office, dress for the occasion, and don’t think you can get away with pajama pants. You never know when you will need to get up and grab something across the room!
One of the biggest mistakes people make is typing during a call. Not only is the sound distracting, but it can create the impression that you’re doing something unrelated to the conference. If you need to take notes, do it by hand. We also urge you to avoid eating during a video conference. No one wants to hear you chewing or see you eating a sandwich during an important meeting. Finally, sit at a clean desk or table (not a couch or a bed), and keep out any kids or pets.
Just because you’re hidden behind a screen, that doesn’t mean you can get away with multitasking. Pay attention, be present, and stay focused. Do not scroll through e-mails, check your social media account, or online shop during a video conference. Though you may feel invisible, the other participants may see your hand on the mouse, hear your fingers typing, or notice your eye contact wavering. Speaking of which, maintain eye contact throughout the meeting. Look at the camera, not at the image of yourself on the screen. Finally, consider muting your microphone when you’re not speaking to eliminate background noise.
If you need to use the bathroom during a video conference, you may be tempted to use an Irish exit, i.e., departing without telling anyone that you’re leaving. Even if you think you could manage it, don’t take the risk. It will make you appear unprofessional and unreliable if you aren’t present when called upon. Instead, if it is a large meeting or you feel uncomfortable interrupting, privately message another participant. If it is a small meeting, slip into the conversation when you can and ask for a small break.
Keep these video conferencing tips in mind the next time you’re scheduled for a screen-based meeting. In addition, be sure that your current equipment is up to snuff to prevent any embarrassing snafus. Finally, if your business would like to install new video conferencing equipment or update your current setup, contact Southwest Audio-Visual. We provide a variety of audio-visual products and services, including video and audio conferencing equipment installation solutions that utilize state-of-the-art technology from Cisco, Lifesize, Polycom, and Vidyo. High-definition video will make it feel like you’re meeting in person, and Internet (IP) connectivity prevents the need for special phone line connections.
If you’re interested in making successful connections through video conferencing technology, please contact us online or give us a call at 877-887-4900 (Springfield) or 636-225-4327 (St. Louis). We would be happy to help you with all of your A-V needs and provide additional video conferencing tips.