10 Tips to Improve Your Video Conferencing Experience

 10 Tips to Improve Your Video Conferencing Experience

Video conferencing has become a premier communication tool for both large and small businesses alike. Due to factors such as the increasing popularity of telecommuting, along with the importance of collaboration and content sharing, video conferencing is an ideal solution since it addresses all of these needs and more. However, once video conferencing becomes the norm in your daily operations, there are a few steps to take to ensure you have the best experience possible.

  1. Clarify Compatibility

Chances are that not everyone joining your video conference will be using the same type of device or system to access the meeting. However, providers such as bluejeans.com specialize in interoperability across multiple preexisting conferencing systems, browser-based access and mobile devices. That means that your participants can more easily join meetings and you don’t have to worry about as many compatibility issues. Clarify this beforehand, though, and inform everyone invited about what kind of tech specs they’ll need to join the video conference.

  1. Don’t Shout

Inevitably, there are going to be times during a video conference that you’ll have trouble hearing someone or there might be two people trying to speak at the same time. Remember that although you have the benefit of face to face communication, you’re still interacting over a distance. Before you start to shout when you can’t hear someone, tweak the technology. Inc.com suggests that rather than raising your vice, try adjusting the volume level on your microphone.

  1. State Your Name and Organization

Northwestern University recommends that participants introduce themselves and state their organization. It’s good to do this at the beginning of the meeting, and make sure that each participant specifically says where they’re from. This is especially important if you’re hosting a meeting with people from multiple organizations, such as an association or consortium, for example.

  1. Dress Appropriately

Would you walk into a meeting wearing running shorts and a t-shirt? If you work in a professional environment, the answer to that question is probably no. While some workplaces are relaxed about clothing, wearing workout clothes or something you’d go to bed in isn’t appropriate for work. Even if you’re telecommuting, dressing in a professional way when you join a video conference is a good way to project a serious image. It can also help get you into a mindset that’s ready to do get down to business.

  1. Learn the System

In short: don’t just wing it. While a video conferencing system may sound very simple, as accessible as it is to use, make sure you know what you’re doing. This is especially important if you’re hosting the meeting. The best tactic is to do a test run with a colleague before you commence the actual meeting.

  1. Stay Focused

Entrepreneur advises that you shouldn’t multitask while on a video conference, since it’s obvious you’re not paying attention. Unlike a phone call where you can check your e-mail unseen or sign off on memos as you chat, video conferencing introduces the visual element. This is a boon for communication, but also prevents you from dividing your attention by doing simultaneous tasks.

  1. Maintain Eye Contact

Treat a video conference interaction the same way you would a regular in person meeting. One of the benefits of video conferencing is that you have the same visual cues as you would seeing someone face to face. Maintaining eye contact with someone who’s speaking is a good way to let them know that you’re being attentive to the point they’re making.

  1. Take Notes

This seems like a simple thing to remember, but it’s easy to get caught up in a discussion and forget to jot down notes. Make sure that you have a pen and pad ready in case someone makes a particularly important point, or says something you specifically want to remember. In short, come prepared to the meeting.

  1. Distribute an Agenda Beforehand

It’s easy to get off track during a video conference meeting in the same way that it is a face to face one. Utilize e-mail to distribute an agenda beforehand, and then stick to that agenda closely. This is the best way to manage time effectively, especially since people’s attention spans start to wane after a while.

  1. Facilitate Speakers Effectively

The talking stick might seem like a primary school concept, but it’s actually quite effective. If you’re heading a meeting, you’re responsible for making sure everyone has an equal opportunity to speak. Don’t let someone dominate the conversation, and set a time limit of one or two minutes for each speaker.

Video conferencing should be approached from two styles of communication which aren’t usually conflated: face to face and electronic. You have components of both, and while you may not be used to the etiquette of the two combined, that’s what video conferencing is all about.