The advent of video conferencing has made booking meetings a whole lot easier: whether you want to talk with someone halfway around the world, or halfway down the road, the convenience of a face-to-face chat from the comfort of your desk (or even your own home, if you’re working remotely) cannot be underestimated. Enabling a flexible and agile workplace is key to business success, with conference calls being vital to this structure; yet even though this method of communication may seem straightforward, there are methods that can further enhance it.
Follow these six tips that can help you make your video conferences as productive, impactful and fruitful as possible:
1. The right angle
Angles can count for a lot: whether you’re attempting to take the ‘perfect selfie’, or you’re on a crucial video call, the slant of the camera can make or break your goal. Angled too low, the video call recipient is going to see that unflattering view of the inside of your nose, but angle the camera too high, and they can’t see your full face (and facial expressions).
Make sure your camera is always positioned at a sensible height, preferably comfortably at eye level. Also, if your camera isn’t integrated into your technology, ensure it is placed securely, to avoid any awkward ‘tech fail’ moments.
2. Dress to impress
We all know how tempting it is to wear a shirt, tie and blazer up top, and pyjama shorts out of shot, when on a video conference. However, you might consider avoiding this, and still dress as if you were actually attending the meeting in person. The way in which you present yourself is paramount to your reputation, especially when making a first impression with new clients or colleagues.
3. Don’t forget to… smile!
Smile! You’re on camera! No matter how much you want to roll your eyes, yawn or smirk, remember you’re always visible. Just like in a meeting, everyone can see everything you’re doing. This isn’t just a negative – being able to see facial expressions only enhances communication. Use this to your advantage; show the other person how truly interested you are in their opinion with your face and body language, in a way that cannot be conveyed in a telephone conversation.
4. Be aware of your background
This rule mostly comes into play when you are making a video conference call from home. Remind yourself before every call that other participants can see everything in the shot, including the mountain of dirty washing, or that old, torn One Direction poster you haven’t bothered taking down yet. If in doubt, a plain background is always the best background. Preferably a lightly coloured wall in a well-lit space.
5. Bad internet connection = bad video conference
The only downside of video conferencing is that you always require a strong internet connection, unless you’re prepared to deal with the occasional lost call, lagging, glitches, frozen screens and sound problems. Frustrating to say the least. Using a robust and reliable network will guarantee you the best possible video meetings. Remember to check the network’s status well before your scheduled video call.
6. Throwing clocks out of windows won’t make time fly
Here is a highly-important, yet often overlooked fact to remember: it is not the same time everywhere around the world! For example, if you are in London and you’re scheduling a 10am meeting with your client in New York, it will be 5am there! Always bring time zones into consideration with your international video meetings - check and double check time zones before you complete your bookings, because it could save you a very embarrassing mistake.
BONUS: Quick-fire tips to help make your video meetings even better:
- Sometimes video conferencing works better with headphones with an in-built microphone.
- Use the best software you can – Skype for Business and Zoom are great options, with easy-to-use interfaces.
- Try to avoid speaking over other participants, and ensure people are finished speaking before you begin (remember there may be a small lag in the video).
- Look for good lighting, especially natural daylight from a window where possible.
- Come early – sometimes take a while to set up, and you never know what might need attention to get your video meeting running smoothly.
- Are you recording it? This might be worthwhile with some meetings, but be sure to set up your recording device well in advance.
- Avoid typing during the meeting – as tempting as it might be, it’s rude and a distraction for all participants.
Simplify the booking of video conferences by integrating video with meeting room booking software into one smooth process. Integrating with your Skype for Business room systems - automatically add Skype meetings to your room booking or integrate with other video conferencing systems to deliver a seamless and simple video meeting experience.