5 Tips to Prepare for a Successful Video Conference
April 2020 - humanity works from living rooms, bedrooms, and even kitchens!
It's clear that the recent and well-justified craze for videoconferencing has surely not come about unnoticed. Although still lacking fluidity only a few years ago, the tools on the market are now very efficient and allow for high-quality visual and audio rendering with multiple participants, as long as your Wifi holds up.
A significant technological feat in these times of isolation...
However, if a professional working life can be restored in only a matter of clicks, videoconferencing is a practice that will require a certain discipline. If like me, you organize numerous video conferences with multiple participants, you’ll know that certain shortcomings can alter the "professional" rendering of the exercise and, ultimately, have a negative impact on the meeting.
We will avoid clichés such as “keep your children locked in their rooms” but there are some details to which it is necessary to pay attention.
Here are 5 tips from LB Networks to prepare for a successful video conference:
1. Check the quality of the sound and image upstream
All the tools offer an audio/video test which will allow you to be operational from the first minute.
More than 50% of conferences begin with an annoying adjustment of settings ceremony which wastes participants' time and projects us back 20 years.
Immediate clear communication will put everyone in good spirits.
2. Replicate the dress codes of physical meetings
Dress as if you were going to a physical meeting, respecting the usual codes of your professional environment. This will send a clear message: distance doesn’t change the seriousness of the conversation.
Furthermore, you do not necessarily know in advance the “clothing choice” of your counterpart so if in doubt, be as professional as possible. Note that a great
disparity in clothing is likely to create discomfort just as it would face to face.
3. Put your devices in “silent” mode and use the “mute” option on your microphone
Whilst it seems obvious to isolate yourself from the overly enthusiastic dog, we can often forget the other sources of noise which usually wouldn't disturb office meetings.
Put your cell phone on silent as usual, but also do so with any active applications which may be on your computer or tablets. Ideally, mute your microphone when you’re not speaking to give the caller a sense of listening. This will also greatly reduce the risk of unwanted noise, especially when multiple participants are present.
4. Talk to the camera
The objective of a videoconference is to reproduce the reality of a physical meeting. Therefore, eye contact is important. This is done by looking directly at the camera, not the screen or your image.
You will, therefore, need to get into the habit of alternately looking at the screen to listen to and see the other party, and then camera when it’s your turn to speak. A new gymnastics that you will quickly get used to.
5. Observe the rules of courtesy
As with a face to face meeting, everyone must wait their turn to speak or react. The videoconference exercise tends to stem the natural flow of speaking, so for multi-participant meetings a facilitator is imperative; ensuring that there’s equal participation and the conversation is moved forward.
Finally, avoid rushing so as not to create an atmosphere of competition for speaking time. Silences are fine, they don’t always need to be filled!
If you want to practice these tips during a business meeting, contact me here.
See you online!