"The honor of your presence is requested." There always seems to be excitement around in-person events. Whether it is a wedding, a back-yard barbeque, or a business conference the "live" element creates a sense of occasion.
If you're using video conferencing as a way to make your geographically dispersed business team feel more connected, here is some useful tips to keep in mind to ensure that video enhances the event rather than becomes a distraction.
There is always etiquette as it pertains to an event. A video conference is no different. As our business communications rely more and more on technology, the way we interact and behave may need to adjust to translate effectively over video. With this in mind, here are a few tried and true best practices for your next video conference.
7 Musts for Your Next Video Conference
- Be prepared: Do a test run before your meeting or training session to make sure all the equipment is working properly. This will ensure you can start and end the conference on time and keep everyone engaged from the beginning.
- Obtain the right position: If using an external camera, position it on your monitor in a position where you typically “gaze” most often. This is usually at the top rim of the monitor in the center, or slightly left or right. By doing so, you will look the most natural.
- Avoid repetitive movement: Throughout the call, assume the camera is always on you. That being said, maintain good eye contact and avoid repetitive motion or rapid movement. A best practice is to move smoothly and slowly. Otherwise your gestures might seem jumpy.
- Dress appropriately: Often bright, patterned clothing (especially stripes) can be distracting during a video conference meeting. Play it safe, and wear neutral tones in solid patterns. Also, be aware of how your desk looks. If you have papers and coffee cups all over, your colleagues can see the clutter!
- Ensure a space that is well lit: Lighting can be tricky during a video conference. You want to eliminate background light from windows (so shut those blinds) so that you don’t appear as a silhouette; however, a bright front light can be equally garish, causing bad shadowing. So our best advice here is to experiment and see what light source positioning works the best.
- Eliminate background noises: Microphones are very sensitive and can be immediately activated by sound or motion. If you can, mute your system when other participants are speaking. If your system isn’t on mute, be aware that everyone can hear you moving around—including rustling through papers, typing on your keyboard, coughing or tapping on your desk—so keep the multi-tasking for after the meeting.
- Check-in with meeting members: Since there may be multiple participants in a video conferencing session, go around the “virtual room” and acknowledge all attendees. If you’re the facilitator of the meeting, set expectations for the meeting and make introductions to ensure all feel comfortable and adequately acquainted.