Video conferencing has developed rapidly over the past few years, becoming a sufficient and efficient part of business strategies, allowing clients to be connected in high quality without geographical restrictions and improving internal communications between co-workers.
Video conferencing can range from free social software such as Skype to more professional cloud-based video conferencing systems like Eyenetwork. Regardless of which platform you use, there are some pitfalls you will need to avoid when using video conferencing. Luckily, we have put together a handy breakdown of video conferencing best practices.
Make sure to have a stable internet connection
Even with the most sophisticated video conferencing platform, you still need to have a reliable internet connection. The most important aspect of video conferencing happens to be stable as well as fast internet connectivity. Once the connection is slow, it will affect the conference adversely with visual disruptions and inconsistent audio.
Have a clear agenda
Make sure that everyone who is invited to the conference call understands, what will be discussed and what their roles are; are they note-taking? Or do they need to prepare data to present? In the same way that everyone would know their roles within an internal meeting,
If no-one knows what they are doing and therefore turn up unprepared, you are going to have awkward silences and at worst, are going to appear incompetent to your clients.
Be conscious of your background
Windows on a video call can negatively impact the quality by giving you a harsh silhouette effect. Whenever possible, try sitting with your back to a wall rather than a window or try lowering the shades. If you are in a public space, try to find a spot with the least amount of distractions behind you.
Maintain eye contact
This may seem counteractive as instead of looking at your participants’ faces, you need to be looking into the camera to maintain the appearance of eye contact. Obviously, you also need to be able to gauge reactions, so take it in turns to both check out the atmosphere of the video call and ensure that your participants feel listened to and respected.
Test Drive Your Tech
Always do a test drive before joining or starting your video call, make sure your audio and video works, make sure your internet is stable and also make sure that you have the best angle. If your camera is pointing up or down at an extreme angle, then your participants will find it hard to see your face and pick up your non-verbal cues. Therefore, you will lose the value that video conferencing provides.
Keep in mind that it is a formal setting and therefore dress accordingly. Being the representative of your organisation, you should not dress in a way that might harm the reputation of your company. If you are working from home, dress as if you are going into the office, it may be tempting to try and get away with PJ bottoms with a smart shirt on top, but it’s a risk you may regret!
If you follow these best practices for a video call and giving the participants the same level of respect as you would when meeting them in real life, then you’ll be able to host a productive, professional meeting.