Whether you're new to video meetings or simply want to get the most from them, there are a few tips that can help. With a little planning, you can avoid distracting technical issues and keep your meetings as productive as possible.
Here are a few questions to ask as you’re preparing for your next video meeting.
What’s the purpose of my meeting?
Before anything else, determine if you even need a meeting. With the growth of team collaboration hubs like Microsoft Teams and Slack, you may be able to send a quick group chat instead of blocking off valuable time on calendars.
Virtual meetings are a great way to engage with other participants, no matter where they’re located. You can easily “read the room,” respond to body language, and build stronger, more personal relationships when you see the person on the other end. Whether you’re hosting an informal team meeting or a making an important pitch, consider how video can enhance your experience.
Who needs to be involved?
Will you be calling your boss for a weekly 1:1 meeting, or hosting a webinar with 100+ attendees? Regardless of the size of your meeting, consider the needs of others on the line and how you can create a seamless experience for them. For instance, be conscious of time limits, who is involved and what role they’ll play, and the meeting’s structure. Consider whether a Virtual Meeting Room (VMR) will do, or if you should live stream and record the session for a broader audience. If you come in with a solid game plan and stick with it, you're much more likely to earn the respect of your colleagues.
Where are participants located, and how will they be joining the meeting?
Will most of the participants be joining from home and calling in from a web browser? Will you have any participants join from a huddle room armed with the latest-and-greatest AV equipment? How about from the road, joining via smartphone?
Today’s distributed workforce means that we are more connected than ever and use a variety of devices to communicate. Make sure your video conferencing solution keeps up with the times. Choose a system that enables users to join from any device and any location with productivity tools that blend seamlessly into daily workflows, from calendar integrations to chat.
Is my environment video-ready?
When people see you on video, be sure they see YOU. Don’t let a cluttered background distract others and get in the way of what you have to say. Keep it tidy, keep it professional, and keep it simple. Pay attention to your lighting, too, so others can see your smiling face. If the room has a window behind you, you may need to close the blinds to avoid harsh backlighting that transforms you into a dark silhouette.
Have I tested my video system?
Most importantly, test, test, test! Before joining your video meeting, check the system to be sure the camera is properly set up, the volume is at the correct level, the microphone is not muted, that you can share content, and that you can access the participant list. This will help you avoid the awkward mid-meeting adjustments that distract you, and others, from the conversation at hand.
Just like with any meeting, don’t forget basic etiquette like making eye contact, speaking clearly, and engaging with everyone in the room. Since you are on video, remember that others can see when you check your phone or respond to that email, so try to keep the multi-tasking to a minimum. Virtual meetings can be a great way to stay connected with your colleagues working in different locations, and with a little preparation, can be just as effective as in-person meetings.