Video conferences happen to come with their own set of unique challenges, and you’ll want to plan ahead in order to avoid and conquer such troubles. However, video conferences are also quite similar to traditional business meetings in that your performance and preparedness have a crucial impact on the resulting productivity, as well as the impression you yourself give off. When aiming for a successfully executed video conference, there are a few factors you should keep in mind when dealing with some potential issues unique to video conferencing.
“Can You Hear Me?”
The last thing you want to happen (and perhaps the first thing that goes wrong) during a video conference is a bad connection as a result of faulty setup. Nobody wants to be that person who holds up the meeting with repeated re-connections, microphone, and video tests. Make sure to test out all of your equipment and connections ahead of time to ensure that things run smoothly and the meeting stays on track. PCWorld mentions that meeting time should be kept to a minimum, as participant attention spans tend to wane after about thirty minutes. Don’t eat up valuable time with on the fly troubleshooting. To avoid trouble with other participants in the meeting, it might be helpful to have detailed instructions as well as a troubleshooting guide sent to participants ahead of time, so that they can familiarize themselves with the system you’ll be using. As a meeting organizer, you’ll want to do what you can to help make sure that their connections and equipment are up and running. You don’t want to be the one having technical trouble, nor do you want to have to interrupt or pause the meeting to give one on one troubleshooting help to one of your coworkers.
Encourage and Record Ideas
Part of a successful meeting is being able to share and archive collaborative data. With video conferencing, the meeting itself is recordable and data remains in the cloud for accessibility at a later date. Services like Blue Jeans offer other features, too. During a video conference, sharing files for the group to see in real time keeps everyone up to speed and makes collaboration, revision, or brainstorming easy. Recording your meetings takes this to the next level by helping you avoid the troubles associated with last minute changes, like having a key member of your team become unable to participate due to illness or other circumstance. They’ll be able to easily access the recorded meeting in the cloud, review all of the data and file attachments that have been shared, and get back to you with their own annotations and contributions. Overall, keeping a backup of what’s been covered can save you many headaches in the long run.
Have an Agenda
Don’t get caught in the hot seat by being unprepared when it’s your turn to present in a video conference. Keep your notes organized and close at hand, and be sure to have any other programs or files you need complete and readily available to open and share. If you’re the one leading the meeting, be sure to go to extra lengths to make sure you’re prepared. A discombobulated manager or leader is bad for team morale, and certainly won’t help the productivity of the conference session. Computer World also advises that it’s important to include visuals in your presentation, like charts, graphs, or shared files. If you do have your meeting agenda meticulously laid out, that doesn’t mean it needs to be boring or turn into a one-sided lecture. Be sure to invite suggestions, encourage discussion, and also take breaks for questions.
According to Forbes, seeing faces and body language affects our interactions with others, and causes us to pay more attention. Don’t let this be your downfall when taking part in a video conference—keep the same professional demeanor that you would show in any other social interaction. Just because you aren’t the one speaking, doesn’t mean that the others in the meeting can’t see you. You’ll want to pay attention to what’s going on and stay involved in the discussion. Don’t get caught picking your nose, rolling your eyes, or any other number of social faux pas that you may not consider if you forget that you’re on camera.
It’s also important to keep your environment distraction free, and focus on the screen in front of you. Lower the volume on your work phone, and silence your cell phone. Don’t text or play games on your phone during the conference. Keep yourself focused and present on what’s going on.
Video conferences don’t have to be difficult, and it’s not very hard to set up and carry one out without a problem. However, the process and the details involved may take a bit of getting used to. Put in effort and pay attention to the resources available to you, and soon enough you’ll be an expert at pulling off successful video conferences without a hitch.