More and more people are working from home or are part of teams that span great distances. When done well, video conference calls are a great way to foster relationships and build teamwork. Done badly, they are often little more than a waste of time.
To make sure your business gets the most out of the time and effort you spend on these calls, here are some ideas to help your next video conference call be more effective and engaging.
- Be familiar with the technology
Check your audio and video settings before the conference starts. If you can, have a brief practice call with a co-worker. This will let you try out different features before the actual call starts. Many conference call platforms have an option that lets you mute all participants at the start of a call. This is a good idea but remember that you’ll need to give people a moment to unmute before they speak.
- Control the environment
Make sure that the space you’re in is well lit, with no distractions. Keep your workspace clean and uncluttered. This is especially true for the wall behind you! Your camera should be set up at eye level, directly in front of you. If you can, use a headset with an attached microphone, which will minimize background noise while you are speaking.
- Have a clear agenda
Let participants know what topics will be covered: send an agenda by email beforehand or share it during the call. Be transparent about what is being discussed at each stage. When you finish one topic, say “O.k., we’re finished with topic A. Now we’ll be moving on to topic B.” This will help keep everyone focused and on track. Keep to your timeline: it shows participants that you appreciate their time.
- Use the call to build relationships
Always introduce yourself before you speak. This is especially important if not everyone has access to video. Look directly at the camera, not at the picture-in-picture of your face. This will help build a connection with the other participants on the call. Try to keep fairly still when you’re talking and avoid unnecessary movements that could be distracting.
- Encourage engagement
Allow a few minutes at the start of the call for people to chat. This gives participants a chance to check their technology and helps build connections that will let ideas flow more smoothly. Ask questions – it’s a great way to get everyone involved. If some participants are in the office, have them dial in separately to ensure that everyone has an equal status during the call, otherwise remote participants will feel like they’re watching a meeting. Don’t forget to leave some time at the end for open items, questions, or comments.
- Be polite
Always introduce yourself before you speak – this is especially important if not everyone has access to video – and don’t interrupt! Wait for a break in the conversation before speaking. Finally, stay focused on the topic of the call. Resist the temptation to check your email or work on a different project, as other participants will be able to tell that you aren’t fully engaged.
For more tips on how to have great video conference calls, access the Beezix Skype for Business 2016 Quick Reference Guide.