Video conferencing has become a vital tool for businesses. Those who have embraced it are recognizing just how beneficial it is to their company and team dynamic. Video is rapidly replacing audio conferencing, and the reasoning is simple. Video conferences, when compared to audio conferences, are more:
Yes, productive! No doubt because all the members of the conference are accountable to each other. Hence the temptation to multi-task is null.
Are you NEW to video conferencing? Here are the six guidelines to consider that can help you feel more confident when getting started.
1. Check your Internet Connection
Make sure your internet connection is adequate for streaming a video conference. It may seem obvious, but most people do not check their internet speed before beginning a virtual meeting. For video conferences, your internet upload speed is typically the reason it freezes up or has inconsistent audio. There are two internet speeds you need to be aware of, upload speed and download speed. Uncertain about the difference? To quickly explain it, internet download speed is how fast data downloads onto your server through the internet. Internet upload speed is the opposite; how fast data goes from your server onto another. If you need more information on the differences between the two, All Connect has a great article explaining it. For managing a productive video conference, you will need an internet speed of 1-4 Mbps, and a minimum of 1 Mbps upload speed. If you are unfamiliar with these phrases, this link provides articles explaining which internet speed is the right choice.
2. Prepare for the Meeting
If you organize the meeting, always set an agenda and send an invitation to people ahead of time like you would for an in-person meeting. Sending a reminder to join you five minutes beforehand is a reliable way for people to get organized before the meeting begins. It allows time for everyone to get set-up properly and have everything they need in front of them. Depending on the software you use, this will also give your attendees a chance to chat and connect informally before the conference.
3. Choose a Video Conferencing Software
Always do a trial run or two when using new video conferencing software. It is the best way to familiarize yourself with it and gain the confidence required if something were to go wrong. Your conference software may have options for sharing documents or screen-sharing features (so your conference can look at your screen when needed). Other features may include:
- Chat features
- Photo placement (depending on who’s talking)
- Recording options
- Presentation features
4. Dress for the Occasion
It may seem obvious, but dressing business casual or formal is just as important for video conferencing as in-person meetings. Dressing for the occasion can help you get into the right mindset for the conference and set the tone for a professional atmosphere.
5. Location and Lighting
Let them see you clearly and professionally! Having a neutral background without clutter allows the focus to be on you instead of your backdrop. Natural light allows for a clear image of your face without any harsh shadows.
6. Look into the Camera and Smile
It’s important to remember that you are visually interacting with people in real-time. Smiling and engaging in the conversation will show clients and employees that you are invested in the discussion. A few etiquette tips for participating in a video conference are:
- Always look into the camera and smile, adjust the camera, so it is at eye level. It makes it easier to look into the camera and not on the screen.
- Avoid looking at your keyboard, phone, emails, or other distractions.
- Know when to mute your microphone. Noise travels, whether you are talking or not, which can distract others during the conference. Mute your microphone so that the person speaking can lead the conversation without any interruptions. Just remember to unmute your mic when you are talking!
The most important rule for participating in a conference is to pay attention to the speaker! Engaging in the conversation will allow for in-depth discussions and a higher productivity rate.