Making the Most of Video Conferencing to Save Time and Money

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

With more people working remotely these days, video conferencing holds an important place in the work place. Even if your workers are all in the same region, gathering them together for an in-person meeting can be time-consuming and expensive. Holding meetings through visual collaboration allows workers to feel connected wherever they are; at home, travelling, or on-site at a client’s office. Most systems can be used on desktop computers or through an app on a mobile device. Plan ahead to run an efficient and productive video meeting.

Choose the Right Video Conference System

The first step in having a successful meeting via video conference is to use the right system for your needs. Many systems are free or cost very little, such as Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts. Pricier options tend to offer extended features, such as Adobe Connect, which allows for breakout rooms and private chats. Most web-based systems can share screens, documents, and visuals. Make sure the system you choose works with your desired software. For example, if the topic of the meeting is financial, you want a conference system that supports the ability to share balance sheets or sales revenues directly from QuickBooks.

Presenter: Do Your Homework

Run a seamless meeting by doing your homework and learning how to operate the hardware and software a day or two before the conference is scheduled. If you are the presenter – the person leading the meeting – become fully adept at working the features of your specific conference system. Know how to share your screen with the group and how to operate any other features that you need to use, such as image editing. Familiarize yourself with potential connectivity issues that attendees may have and be ready to troubleshoot if anyone experiences such challenges. Email login and connectivity instructions to all of the participants at least 24 hours before the meeting.

Appearance Matters

Remember that the participants in the video conference see you and everything in the room behind you as well. Choose a location with a professional appearance. Avoid sitting in front of storage boxes or a messy bookshelf, for example. Select a room that does not contain any background noise, such as a city bus going by the window or chatty co-workers. The technical aspects are important as well. Make sure there is plenty of lighting so that your face shows up on screen without a glare. Position the camera so that it is pointing directly at your face, and if possible, use a wireless microphone to avoid having cables get in the way.

Proper Etiquette

Treat the video conference like a business meeting, displaying professional behaviour at all times. Avoid any actions or movements that might distract the other attendees, such as eating, playing with your dog, or checking your phone. It is fine to joke around a little in a less formal meeting with people who know each other well, but that is less appropriate if the atmosphere is more formal and businesslike. Be respectful of people’s time; distribute copies of a meeting agenda ahead of time, and ask participants to stick closely to the schedule.

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