These days, technology is used in almost every area of business, from customer service and product development, through to sales, marketing, administration, HR, and finance. Another thing that digital developments have really made a difference to though is communication.
Now, more and more businesses utilize video conferencing to enable effective communication between teams situated all over the world. However, while this technology is incredibly helpful, it’s important to know how to use it best. Read on for some tips you can follow today.
Use Quality Software and Systems That Suit Your Needs
For starters, you’ll have the best results from video conferencing if you choose the right software and system setup. There are lots of quality options on the market, such as Cisco conferencing and other platforms created by trusted tech firms, so do your research before you settle on a product.
Keep in mind that everyone has different needs, so don’t just sign up to the service you’ve heard others raving about. Think about how you want to use video conferencing, and what features you need as a result. There are free services with limited options, or products with all the bells and whistles, and everything in between, so be sure of your specific goals and needs up front.
Think about things like how often you want to video conference; how many participants may need to regularly sit in on calls; if you want to be able to integrate the service with other applications, such as Google Docs or project management software; and whether you need to make recordings (video and/or audio) of the meetings for later reference. Other features to consider are connections via mobile devices; screen sharing; different types of meetings (e.g. open-forum type meetings and/or lecture-style meetings); and dedicated customer support.
Prepare Before Conferences Start
Next, always spend time preparing before a video conference. While tech tools can be a great help, they will only cause you headaches if you don’t do your due diligence to make sure they’re integrated correctly and working right.
Always comprehensively know the tools you’re using. While this is of particular importance if you’re the key person presenting to a team or leading a meeting, even if you’re just sitting in on a call, you still need to test out the hardware, software, and connectivity options before the conference. Keep in mind that glitches can happen, so continue to test each time before a video meeting, even if you have been using the same software and computer for months.
It pays to test out all the different equipment being used for the meeting; figure out the different audio options and mute buttons; test chat features; and ensure your internet connection is working well. Give yourself plenty of time before the scheduled call so that you can put a backup system in place if need be.
Update any relevant software you use for calls too, to ensure you’re using the most recent version. This will not only make the connection better, but also increase the security of the program. In addition, wherever possible reboot your computer before the call to give your machine maximum stability during the meeting.
Keep in mind that you want the audio and visual feeds to be quality, so try to have a decent in-room system with good speakers, and choose a location where you won’t have to contend with lots of noise or where people looking at you through the software won’t be distracted by moving scenes, such as people or traffic, around you. Furthermore, choose a space with good lighting, so people can see you easily.
Think About Etiquette
While video conferencing may mean you’re not in the same room as the people you’re talking to, this doesn’t get you off the hook when it comes to business etiquette. For example, if you’re leading a meeting make sure you introduce everyone present if there are new faces or if you’re getting to know others for the first time. Body language can be seen through video calls too, so smile, lean forward or otherwise show you’re paying attention as others talk, and raise your hand rather than interrupting speakers when you want to contribute.
As well, always dress appropriately. While you might think you can try the trick newsreaders are said to use, where they have a suit jacket or nice blouse on the top and then board shorts, PJ bottoms or tracksuit pants on the bottom, keep in mind you never know when you might need to stand up to fix a connection, fetch a document or otherwise make yourself completely visible. As such, dress as you would if it were an in-person meeting. Your hair and makeup should also be neat and tidy.