Video conferencing has proven essential in today’s remote work environments for maintaining a corporate culture of strong teamwork and connectedness. That said, most of us are familiar with the common issues and challenges that remain, such as poor streaming quality and lack of security. Fortunately, most of these problems can be overcome by following these tips:
- Eliminate the common bandwidth hogs
Internet connections might be faster than ever, but a lack of bandwidth remains a common problem, especially for people working from home on slower connections. Most bandwidth-related issues can be alleviated by closing any background tasks, particularly downloads and automatic updates. Always check before joining a conference that there’s nothing running in the background consuming large amounts of bandwidth.
- Stick to the schedule, but allow for flexibility
It’s an unfortunate fact that most business conferences end up being a waste of time. Usually, this is because they weren’t properly planned for, which often leads them to go on for too long.
You can alleviate this by setting a schedule and inviting only those who actually need to attend. All attendees should know why their participation is necessary. That said, you should allow for a little flexibility, especially toward the end of the meeting, for participants to ask any questions.
- Use the right software and hardware
For occasional one-on-one calls, your laptop’s built-in microphone might be sufficient, but it might not be up to the task of a large video conference. The same goes for built-in cameras which, especially in older laptops, may run into compatibility issues. Businesses should be prepared to provide their employees high-quality headsets if necessary.
- Engage attendees with compelling visuals
The ability to share screens and presentations is a key feature of any good video conferencing software, and you should use it wherever appropriate. For example, you can share PowerPoint presentations to provide compelling visuals to better illustrate complex processes, just as you can with an overhead projector in a traditional business meeting.
- Don’t forget about information security
When sharing screens during a video conference, it’s easy to make the mistake of sharing private information, such as browsing tabs and other content. Participants should take extra precautions to ensure their desktops are ready to be shared. This might include enabling the Do Not Disturb mode to stop private messages from popping up, or using a dedicated work account whenever joining a meeting.
- Mute yourself when you’re not speaking
Even if you’re not speaking, having your microphone turned on can pick up background noises like keyboard typing, coughs, or sneezes. While noise-cancelling microphones can help alleviate these problems, it’s common etiquette to keep yourself on mute when you’re not talking. Most software allows hosts to mute everyone by default, and unmute participants when it’s their turn to talk.
- Check your equipment in advance
It always makes sense to arrive at a video conference about 15 minutes early, just as it does to prepare in advance for any in-person meeting. This will give participants a chance to review the agenda one last time and ensure their microphones and cameras are working correctly. Most popular video conferencing software, such as Zoom, provides a simple function that allows users to test their hardware before joining.
- Be clear about the rules
Leaders should establish clear rules well in advance, preferably when sending out the meeting agendas. The rules should be simple and concise. There’s no need to be overbearing, but it’s important to set the expectations to ensure a productive and meaningful event.
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