Video conferencing isn’t exactly ground-breaking, brand new technology, it has been around for quite some time now but most have likely had limited exposure to it as it is typically only used for large meetings with attendees in different countries. That has changed recently, however, due to the fact that most of us are not locked away in our own homes due to a pandemic. Because of this, virtual meetings have never been more useful, and below are a few tips that will help you achieve a better virtual meeting.
Check your setup
First things first, you need to ensure that your setup is working as it should. It is also a good idea to ask any other members of the meeting to check their setup as well prior to the meeting time.
The most important things to check are:
Make sure you find the best place in your home with a strong internet connection, ideally hardwired to your router. This will give the best signal and should ensure that you don’t see any lagging issues or dropouts during the call. If you have a spotty internet connection, be sure to speak to anyone else in the house and ask them to refrain from streaming videos or downloading anything for the duration of the call. Online gaming, however, is completely fine and should not affect your call quality at all due to the tiny amount of bandwidth it uses.
You can check this yourself quite easily, simply search for your camera in your start menu and you will see a preview of what co-workers will see. Make sure you are in an area with good lighting and if you try to avoid any distractions like people walking past in the background.
While sitting with your back to a wall is one option, applications like Zoom allow you to set up backgrounds that will hide anything behind you, a service like Hello Backgrounds zoom green screen is packed with essential features to help you minimize any potential distractions that may occur if you have roommates or even just an untidy room. Using a custom background also allows you to join a meeting with the peace of mind knowing that your private space is hidden from prying eyes.
Your computer or webcam will almost certainly have a built-in microphone and while you can check your speakers and microphone through your computer settings, it is usually best to have a quick test call with someone to make sure everything is working well.
Make a plan
Because of their nature, and the fact that most, if not all of the attendees, will be working from home, virtual meetings typically require more planning and structure to prevent them from going off course. To avoid this, create an agenda for your meeting, this can be time-specific or not but is essential for maximizing productivity.
A few key things to include in your agenda are:
- Why you are meeting
- Which topics you want to discuss
- The overall goal of the meeting
- Some basic ground rules for the meeting
Ground rules are typically not included in meeting agendas, but for virtual meetings when people are working from home they can sometimes forget that they are at work. Setting a few ground rules ensures that everyone will conduct themselves in a professional manner and should have all their equipment working in advance.
Use the tools available
Staring at a screen instead of interacting with people in a physical meeting may seem like a step backward, however, there are plenty of tools available to make sharing information easier and more engaging in a virtual conference call. For example, you can share screens with other members to quickly relay information, and tools like virtual whiteboards can be shared with the whole call to make brainstorming an easier and more enjoyable process.
Record your meetings
Finally, a big advantage of virtual meetings is the ability to easily record them. This means that the participants do not need to take as many notes and can instead easily check back on what was said at a later time. This prevents mistakes and makes it easier for people to focus on the meeting itself rather than writing down information.