Between the Coronavirus outbreak and companies expanding their work-from-home options for workers, video conferencing has begun to play an essential role in facilitating meetings and keeping workplace culture alive. A Forbes Insights/Zoom global survey found that video conferencing has even started to outpace audio conferencing for internal communications according to 80% of executives. Not only that, but 84% also felt that video conferencing is fast becoming the go-to means for collaborating and communicating with external stakeholders.
For many, this may be their first experience using apps such as Zoom and Uberconference. So for those new to the technology, here are a few tips and tricks to make adjusting easier and keep you in good graces with your colleagues.
Be on Time
Punctuality is just as important when working from home as it is in the office. And while you may be able to get away with sneaking in late to a large group meeting in person, it will be much more apparent if you’re late for a video conference because all eyes will be on you. Everyone’s time is valuable, and a lack of punctuality is disruptive to those in the meeting. If you’re having technical difficulties, do your best to let those you’re meeting with know.
Check Your Equipment
Speaking of technical difficulties, it’s critical that you test out your equipment before you’re scheduled to have your big meeting with a principal investor. Test out the conferencing software you’re using, the mic, the camera, and your internet connection speed well in advance and practice with internal teams to ensure you’ve got the hang of it before a high stakes meeting. Even the most polished presenter can fall into the trap of technology failures and come across as quite inept.
Mute Your Mic
If you’re not the one talking, then mute your microphone. It will make everyone’s connection a lot clearer if those who are not speaking mute their mics. Even though you may think you’re quiet, many microphones tend to pick up background noise, which can be very distracting.
Look into the Camera
This one may take a bit of getting used to, but you want to make sure you’re looking into the camera and not just watching what’s happening on the screen. It’s essential to be aware of the camera positioning. In an in-person meeting, you would be sure to make eye contact with those in attendance when they are speaking; the same is true for a video conference. Most built-in computer cameras are at the top of the screen in the center, so when you’re looking at the screen, you appear to be looking down. When using your phone, be aware that looking down as though you’re reading a text provides a prime view of the inside of your nose rather than your face.
Along the same lines, you want to ensure that whatever is in the background behind you is… suitable for a work environment. Your kids and pets bouncing off the walls behind you can be quite distracting.
Again, this is where common sense comes into play. If you would dress up for an in-person meeting, then dress up for the video conference meeting. If standard office attire is casual, that’s fine; however, keep in mind if you’re wearing pajama bottoms that you may want to refrain from standing up. No one wants to see you sitting poolside in your new speedo either.
If you’re new to this whole working from home thing, it’s okay to make mistakes or need help. The most important tip is to treat a video conference meeting the same as you would an in-person meeting.