5 Tips for more effective video conferences

5 Tips for more effective video conferences

It’s likely that a lot of businesses here in New Jersey and the rest of the country won’t be welcoming their employees back to the office until next year. Many conferences and conventions are shifting to virtual events, and video conferencing is now something most of us are familiar with. But video conferencing isn’t, and never will be, just like holding an in-person event. Some of us don’t feel comfortable being on video, others struggle with poor home broadband connections and limited bandwidth, while new challenges around security and privacy have started making the headlines.

If your business in Hanover, Morristown, or Madison will be doing more video conferences, here are five ways you can improve the experience for everyone:

1. Choose the right video conferencing software

There’s more to video conferencing than just hopping on a Skype call and getting on with it. For starters, consumer-grade solutions generally don’t offer the security, privacy, and features that business users need. Most business-ready video conferencing software have a per-host payment model, with prices ranging anywhere from $5 to $50 per month. Other things you need to think about are compatibility, application integration, video quality, and recording. Be sure to thoroughly review several video conferencing platforms, and choose one that will work optimally with your existing systems and processes.

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2. Invest in quality hardware

You shouldn’t rely on the built-in microphone and speakers in a typical laptop. They often result in echoes and other disturbances that compromise audio quality. Make sure to supply your employees with quality noise-cancelling headsets if they don’t have them already. The best headsets offer comfortable over-ear fitting and decent audio quality. It’s also wise to stick to laptop or desktop computers for video conferences where possible, ideally connected to the local router via ethernet cable. Wi-Fi networks are more subject to interference and sudden dropouts.

3. Get rid of major bandwidth hogs

Video conferencing consumes a lot of bandwidth, especially if you are using high-definition video and have lots of participants on the call. Test your internet connection beforehand, and make sure you have download and upload speeds of at least 8 Mbps for the best experience. Before you host or join a call, be sure to get rid of any common bandwidth hogs on your network, such as background software downloads or streaming video services.

4. Take precautions when sharing your screen

For those who aren’t used to video conferencing, screen sharing mishaps are a common and often embarrassing problem. If you’re using your home computer, you might not give a second thought to things like your desktop background, the apps you run, or the notifications you get. The easiest way to ensure your privacy is to have a dedicated work account or use a dedicated computer for work. Other options include sharing only application-specific windows and temporarily disabling notifications (particularly those from personal messaging apps). Always keep privacy and security top of mind not only when sharing your screen, but also when using any video conferencing or collaboration platform.

5. Try to keep the distractions to a minimum

It’s often tempting to use your video conferencing time to browse the web or look through your inbox. However, it’s surprisingly easy for others on the call to tell if you’re not paying attention. In fact, it’s a common reason why remote meetings fail to achieve their goals. Many people don’t take them as seriously as they do an in-person event. However, employees should treat remote meetings as though they’re attending in person. Keep any distractions to a minimum — turn off notifications, close down any apps and windows you don’t need, and let everyone in your household know that you shouldn’t be disturbed for the duration of the meeting.

Online Computers helps New Jersey companies support their remote workers better by providing reliable IT services and highly responsive customer support. Talk to us today to find out more.

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