If you’re part of a remote team, you surely know that video conferencing is a great and easy way to collaborate and stay connected with your teammates.
But have you noticed it can also quickly turn into a drain of time when the video call hasn’t be prepared correctly? Or even in a huge cacophony if the participants are not aware of the video conference etiquette?
So, as you prepare for your next video conference, make sure you’ve got these 11 dos & don’ts in mind, to make the most out of your video meeting!
What Makes a Good Video Conference? Our Video Conferencing Tips to Rock Your Next Call!
1. Double check the details of your video call
If you’re the organizer of a video conference, the first great step to take is simply to double-check the invite you are sending to future attendees of your team meeting. Have a look at the link, PIN, user ID, phone number, time, and date before anything.
Some good video conferencing software such as Zoom or Skype can automatically send this data to your collaborators. If this is not the case, it’s always better to make sure in advance that you have correctly passed on all the important information to the participants.
Also, pay attention to cover specific time zones if participants from different countries will join your virtual meeting.
2. Make an agenda before the meeting starts
Decide what goals need to be accomplished during the call, how much time should be allocated for each goal, and determine who will take responsibility for each task.
If you are organizing a pretty big video conference call for an important meeting, you can also use tools like Doodle or Google Calendar to assign timeslots ahead of time, so participants can easily find out when their turn is coming up.
Your meeting agenda should be clear and attached to the invite. This will help you decide on the topics you want to cover and help the others preparing themselves.
3. Prepare the video conference content
If the content of your video conference is not ready, it can quickly turn into an unproductive chat.
Therefore, it is always better to prepare your content, questions, researches before your video meeting.
If it is necessary for the discussion during your video conference call, make sure you also share needed files with all attendees ahead of time.
It allows all participants to have access to everything they might require during the call, without having to search for it throughout or to waste time.
4. Check the technology well ahead of time
If you’re a participant and have never worked with whichever software you have been invited on, you should test your access at least 15 minutes before the start of the conference.
The settings of your company network can be restrictive and might sometimes be limiting your use of a specific video conferencing software.
Or, the conference system requires that special software, browser extension, or latest version that you never could install on your computer.
In any case, always try to connect slightly before the video call starts so you can run a test, check your built-in microphone and video quality, verify your internet connection, and overall tackle all technical difficulties!
Pro tip: If needed, contact your IT administrator with time to avoid any unprofessional late connection and to ensure smooth video collaboration.
5. Set a neutral background and atmosphere
Once the conference is starting, do not disturb other business professionals with unnecessary imagery in the background.
To do so, you can first try to find a spot in front of a wall of a solid color. If you are looking for natural lighting, you rather not sit in front of a window, but across from it.
You can also select a specific picture that matches your conference topic or set a blurry background for your camera with the modern options Google Hangouts, Zoom and many more now offer.
6. Dress appropriately
When you connect to video meetings, you’re in a professional setting, and you need to make sure you dress appropriately.
This will show your team members that you take this meeting seriously and respect them as professionals. You may have to get up briefly during the call – so sweat shorts underneath your dress shirt are a no-go, no matter how hip they are.
And between us, it also helps to look good on camera! 😉
7. Smile, you’re on camera!
If you’re entitled to remote work and are not able to see your co-workers in person every once in a while, best practices suggest using video conferencing in order to keep visual contact with each other.
However, if you use video, you need to be careful with your attitude. Like with in-person meetings, other participants can actually read the body language you are reflecting.
It’s important to keep a professional attitude, to stay focused, and to make sure you keep eye contact with your teammates during the video call.
The camera angle should also be tested beforehand so that your image doesn’t end up distorted.
A camera positioned too high, too low, or too close will distort your face. It’s best to ensure that your camera is positioned at eye level and that you’re not sitting too close to it.
8. Pay attention to your audio
It’s also important to make sure you won’t distract others with background noise. Make sure to be in a calm room before joining the video conference call.
If you are sitting in the same room with other colleagues or family members, it is better to use a headset. This will help filter out any background noise and make everyone hear and understand more clearly the speakers.
However, make sure the microphone isn’t too close to your mouth – or else you take the risk of sounding like Darth Vader!
Finally, make good use of the mute button. It should always be on when you are not speaking for a long time. Muting your microphone will prevent adding any noise, small talk, or distractions in the team meeting.
But of course, don’t forget to unmute when you need to speak up!
9. Stay present during video conference calls
Remember to stay fully focused on your virtual meetings. As is the case for face-to-face meetings, inattentive participants can come across as rude and disinterested.
Don’t read emails, don’t use your mobile device, don’t work on other tasks, are simple things that we can tend to forget when we are connected. You can also be seen at video conferences when you are not concentrating.
Typing e-mails is also a no-go. It’s too distracting – not to mention the fact that everyone can hear the typing. Overall, if you want to take notes, it is better to do it by hand.
Pro tip: With the right camera angle, you also improve your presence, especially if you look into the camera while speaking and work with facial expressions and gestures.
10. Video conferencing rules and etiquette
Video conference calls come close to face-to-face meetings. Therefore, except for the specific tips mentioned above, the same rules of conduct should apply. It’s important to understand video conferencing etiquette.
Greet and say goodbye to your teammates, let your interlocutor finish speaking before you do to avoid speaking at the same time, speak clearly, keep your cell phone away, etc.
11. Make your video call valuable by writing online meetings’ minutes
Finally, it’s also useful to take and send meeting minutes at the end of the conference, especially if you’re the initiator or moderator.
If you send the minutes to everyone afterward, ideally combined with a call-to-action or new suggested dates, you avoid misunderstandings and work in a results-oriented manner.
You’ll also unconsciously prove that the video meeting was worth having.
Video conferencing is a great way to keep a face-to-face interaction with your colleagues, even if you’re miles apart. And the best part is that they don’t require any special equipment or training!
You just need a good internet connection, and then, it’s as easy as clicking “start call”… or almost! Preparing yourself, respecting the video conferencing etiquette as well as showing appropriate behavior for those business world video meetings are important to ensure successful phone calls!
So, before you hop onto one of the video conferencing platforms for your next meeting, remember our 11 tips above, and experience for yourself the difference!