Over the past week, one thing is clear – video conferencing has experienced a considerable boost in popularity.
Once, a way for corporations to communicate with remote teams or across different locations, it has now been embraced by the masses from families, friends, clubs and social groups.
But how will this affect business going forward? Even in a week of isolation, it’s clear that by testing video conferencing in these difficult circumstances, many companies will see the possibilities moving forward. Remote working may become more acceptable and using technology like Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype and other similar platforms will see an increase in adoption.
As a company with staff in several countries, we’ve used these platforms for many years. This past week, we’ve significantly increased the practice. It’s a great way to keep engagement with all our teams, particularly those in the remotest of locations and to keep morale up.
Things we’ve learnt about video conferencing:
Test your connection, microphone and video before your call starts. At the very least, know how to change the settings to switch between different connected devices, so you don’t leave other participants hanging. If you have a headset, these are often preferable as they cut out background noise, and help you focus.
Have a host. Ensure that each meeting is chaired and that individuals are addressed when asked questions, “Susan, what do you think?”. Don’t just stare at their video feed as they won’t know that you are looking at them!
Start with some water-cooler conversation as participants are coming online, just like a real-life meeting!
Try and achieve decent lighting and frame your shot appropriately. Don’t sit with a window behind you, but perhaps in front of you lighting your face, webcams can’t cope with high contrast lighting very well. If you can, have a neutral background and something that looks good on camera – we don’t need to look at your washing hanging up in the background. Try and get your laptop camera (if that’s what you are using) at eye level for a more flattering angle. I elevate the back of the laptop on some boxes – also helps with airflow.
Look presentable. Even if it’s just a shirt and you are wearing shorts, as long as you don’t stand up, no one will guess – it’s what newsreaders have been doing for years! I know many chaps have been avoiding shaving, but remember, you are still representing your company.
Mute your microphone when you’re not talking. It’s quite distracting if you have a dog barking in the background or just the ambient buzz of your computer, you don’t want to distract the conversation.
Pick an appropriate time. This is something we’ve struggled with due to the time zones we work across. From America to the middle east, many meetings are limited to a brief period of availability when everyone is awake and at work. In our case, it’s often between 1 pm and 2 pm GMT. Use a tool to show you the time in various locations. https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html
Send out invites with all the details participants need including an agenda. Have a slide deck on hand if needed to help the meeting and share your screen if you need to keep things on track and stick to the allotted time. Just because it’s not in a meeting room, doesn’t mean it should go on too long.
All in all, Video Conferencing is a great tool and one you should consider embracing too. If you need more information, get in touch with Talia, and we can help you connect your teams – after all, it’s what we’ve been doing for the past 20 years.
27 May 2020
Later today, weather permitting, the first crewed rocket launch from the US in almost a decade will take place from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the site originally built for the Apollo space program.