Remote working tools like video conferencing are no longer a futuristic novelty—they are now a reality for many businesses and paramount to business continuity.
In normal circumstances, video conferencing can save travel time and increase productivity, thus it has been increasingly changing the business world significantly. However now, the impact of the technology will be felt like never before.
Whether it be to stay connected with staff that are now working remotely, to interview a potential employee or to conduct a business meeting, video conferencing is not only beneficial from a work perspective but it’s nice to see friendly faces during difficult times.
Studies have shown that more than 60% of executives agree that video conference calls create stronger relationships between participants and lead to better communication compared to audio conference calls.
A video conference, however, is not a face-to-face meeting, and is only beneficial when conducted correctly. So, for those that are new to the process or anyone that wants to make the most of this technology, follow these tips to ensure your video meeting is productive.
Make Sure Your Wi-Fi is Stable
There’s nothing worse than a meeting being disturbed due to technical issues with Wi-Fi. It can take a long time to recover and can sometimes stop the meeting altogether. Make sure your Wi-Fi is fast and steady, especially if you are hosting a meeting from home.
Select a Good Video Conferencing Provider
Prices vary between different platforms and the type of plan you require; however, they are all accessible, affordable and usually charge a small monthly fee. Here are some great platforms for video conferencing:
- Skype or Skype for Business
- Microsoft Teams
- Cisco Webex Meetings
Dress for the Occasion
Dress smart, as you would for a face-to-face meeting, the same rules apply. You are representing yourself and/or your firm, so professionalism is essential.
Give careful thought to your surroundings and your appearance on camera. Your location should be free of clutter and busy backgrounds. Take lighting and camera angles into consideration, make sure your camera is at eye level, use natural lighting from the windows or make sure you have lamps around your screen if it is dark outside.
Create the Right Atmosphere
Eliminate background noise whilst the conference is taking place and direct participants on how to mute and unmute their microphones. It’s also essential that participants talk one at a time so whoever is speaking is loud and clear and there is no confusion. At the start of the conference lay down a couple of rules and explain how the meeting is going to run before you get started.
Make a Meeting Agenda
Write at least 3 goals you want to achieve by the end of the video conference and create an agenda accordingly. Send this over to all the participants a day before the meeting so they know why they have been invited to the conference and can plan accordingly. By having a structure and enforcing the main purpose, you will find that your VC meeting is far more productive.
Keep Participants Focused
Break up the meeting into manageable chunks and inject some kind of activity roughly every 15 minutes. This could be asking participants to introduce themselves at the start of the meeting or holding a Q&A about certain topics. If participants are focused throughout, the outcome is likely to be greater.
Mute yourself when not speaking.
Even though you may not be speaking and think you're being quiet, most microphones can pick up minor background noises. These sounds can easily distract other video conferencing participants and potentially even cause annoyance. Make it a practice (out of common courtesy to your colleagues) to mute yourself whenever you're not talking. For most video conferencing software, it's as simple as a click of a button.
Share Meeting Notes
After the meeting has ended, create a document or email that contains notes taken from the meeting and send it to all participants, include:
- A list of people in the VC meeting
- When the meeting took place
- Key topics covered in the meeting
- Action points moving forward
- Deadlines if necessary
- A rough idea on when another video meeting may take place.
By writing meeting notes you will encourage stakeholders to follow up, continue the momentum and take action on what has been discussed.
As videoconference usage within your organisation continues to grow, the above guidelines should prove helpful in ensuring successful meetings using videoconferencing.