Now more than ever, businesses are looking for ways to stay connected with employees, coworkers, clients, even family. There are some smart tools available to stay connected and stay productive. One of the best ways to communicate, collaborate, and keep things going is video conferencing. It’s an amazing online tool that virtually replaces the need for in-person meetings and presentations. But if you’re just getting started (or a bit rusty), it’s a good idea to be sure you’re putting your business’s best foot forward, especially when connecting with employees and clients. With that in mind, we’ve put together a few of the most important do’s and don’ts for video conferencing that apply to any software including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts Meet, and others.
Before your meeting
You know how important it is to be prepared for in-person meetings. It’s the same with virtual meetings but with some online considerations.
- Run a practice meeting. If it’s your first time, you should do a practice meeting with friends or family to work out all the kinks.
- Test your audio. You should test your audio to be sure you can hear, and others can hear you. For best results, use a headset with a directional microphone to limit any background noise. It’s usually not a good idea to use your computer microphone unless you’re sure no background noise will be heard during the meeting.
- Check your overall conference settings. Choose automatic settings that reflect what you want to happen when you join meetings. For example, you might choose to join meetings with your audio muted so you won’t be heard coming online. There may be times for whatever reason when you might prefer to have your video turned off so others don’t see you live. Check your screen name and photo that will appear to be sure they are what you want others to see if you decide not to go on camera.
- Selecting your screen or browser. Make sure that you know how to select the screen or browser if you are presenting. This can be tricky and works best if you open two browser windows, which most video conferencing software options offer. Make sure not too many other distracting tabs are open.
- Using two screens. Be sure to “hold” your meeting on the screen with the camera. That way you are looking at the attendees when you talk. Have the documents that you plan to present on the other screen. Having only one browser on your second screen will make it easy to select the screen you want to share.
- Using only one screen. If you only have one screen, open two browser windows. One that the meeting will be on and a new browser window that you will use to share any documents.
During the meeting
You’re all set and ready to go. But there are some things to remember when it comes time for the meeting to start.
- Double-check that you’re ready. Be sure that you have your documents opened and ready to present.
- Check your background. Make sure that the background behind you is appropriate and professional. A wall with a neutral piece of artwork or a bookshelf is a good choice. Try to avoid any backgrounds that allow others, like family members, to walk through while you’re in the meeting. Find a quiet corner or place where you know you won’t be disturbed.
- Show up on time. This is a biggie! Just because you’re holding your meeting online doesn’t mean that professional etiquette goes out the window. So, be on time so others don’t have to wait for you. If you are the meeting scheduler and arrive late, your attendees might not be able to get into the meeting.
- Don’t be too early. If you’re an attendee, it’s a good idea not to log in too early or the scheduler will receive a notice that you are waiting.
- Go on camera. Showing your face at a meeting with a small group of attendees makes it more personal. Being on camera allows everyone to better relate to each other while online. No one will judge how you look as long as you look professional. That’s right, NO bedhead! Dark clothing without patterns is also good practice so you don’t distract attendees. Be sure the camera is at a good distance showing your upper body, especially if you talk with your hands. In addition, be sure to have a little space around your head.
- Mute your mic. If you’re not actually presenting or talking, mute your microphone. Just remember to unmute it before you talk. Allow a couple of seconds after someone speaks before you chime in. Otherwise, you may unintentionally interrupt them.
After the meeting
Now that your meeting is over, you should be feeling pretty accomplished at this point. But there are a couple of things to address. So, now what?
- Hang up. Once the meeting is over, you’ll want to be sure to hang up before you close the browser bar. You wouldn’t want someone hearing information or comments they shouldn’t be privy to.
- Save updated documents. If you took notes or edited documents on your computer during the meeting, don’t forget to save them.
- Share documents with participants from the meeting.
- Follow up on tasks established in the meeting.
Give it a try
Now you’re all set to hop onto your next meeting. Once you get started and hold a couple of meetings, it will become second nature to you. Video conferencing really is the next best thing to meeting and working with employees, colleagues, or clients in person. And sometimes, like right now, we definitely couldn’t live without it.
At Cobiro, we offer small businesses digital help to market their products and services. Find out how we can help you.