With the current health crisis, many organisations are switching to remote work. That means you have to stay in touch with your team through video conferencing. The overnight transformation from in-person meetings to video conferences has thrown many people into the deep end. For starters, the merging of personal and professional lives can lead to awkward situations. Not to mention the technical glitches that could halt a video meeting. Besides, many people are uncomfortable being on screen.
While no one was ready for the transition, after over a hundred days of working from home, we have picked a few tricks that make video conferences enjoyable. Here are do’s and don’ts to make your next meeting to be comfortable and effortless:
Test Your Video Conferencing Tools
Malfunctioning conferencing software can bring a meeting to a screeching and awkward halt. Therefore, before you start the session, test your setup, including the microphone, speakers, and headphones; ensure that you can hear the speaker. Slow Wi-Fi and connectivity issues can also derail a conference. Ensure your internet speed can support a high-quality video call. You can use internet speed tests to verify your connection capability. Most conferencing apps let you test the webcam and microphone before the meeting starts. If you run into problems, you can troubleshoot them before the video call.
Beware of Your Background
Many people do not have a home office, and they have to do with the available space. You can attend the video conference calls in a quiet room. However, if the room has bold décor or is messy, it can distract your colleagues. Bland décor and neutral colours will keep listeners focused on what you are saying. If you are not inclined to alter the room, you can change your setting with virtual background features in Zoom. Skype and Microsoft Teams allow you to blur the background.
Do Not Position Your Camera Too Low
Your camera positioning can make or break your video meeting. If it is too low, it can create awkward situations where your audience ends up staring at the table. If you want people to see your smiling face, ensure the camera is at eye level. It will make it comfortable to look at the camera when speaking. Besides, it gives video conference participants the impression that you are looking at them, which will boost engagement. When speaking to the participants, avoid looking at yourself and focus on the camera. Self-view often causes distractions, and you may stray from the plan. If you keep checking your image during a meeting, switch off the self-view mode.
Ensure the Lighting Is Good
Your video or camera quality has a significant impact on the video conference. Therefore, do not ignore the importance of lighting. For a better quality image, sit in a room with natural lighting. Avoid too much light behind you from the window; it will shadow your face and darken the video. Poor lighting can reduce the focus of other participants, and they may zone out completely.
Even with a lovely setting, background noise can be a nuisance during video conferences. It can be uncomfortable for other participants to hear screaming kids or other background noises. While it seems obvious, many people forget to turn off their microphones when joining a meeting. Video chatting services allow you to mute the microphone, and you can switch it on when it is your turn to speak. You should also set boundaries at home by keeping the door closed when you have a conference call. If you treat your video conference like a face-to-face meeting, you will get more value. Apart from noise, your dress code can also distract participants. Since you are working from home, it is easy to abandon your professional attire. You can rock casual wear, but do not show up in inappropriate outfits.
Do Not Multitask
While we are all guilty of multitasking during audio conferences, it can be embarrassing to be distracted when other participants are watching you. To ensure you are paying attention, switch off your phone, and avoid opening other computer applications. If you have other commitments, be polite, and excuse yourself instead of drifting off every few minutes.
We are all learning the ropes in video conferencing, and sometimes reminding other participants of what to do can make it successful. Apart from avoiding common offences like multitasking and grooming, it would help if you practised etiquette to ensure other participants are comfortable.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings, including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 45 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.