With millions of workers around the world confined at home, virtual meetings and Video Conference have risen to unsuspected limits. Companies like Google, Microsoft, or Cisco are doing the impossible to make workers communicate more quickly, and the actions of companies like Zoom are skyrocketing.
In this context, it is worth stopping for a moment to think and reflect on some practices that will significantly improve our online meetings. Because it is not only about choosing the best platform, but also taking into account whether our team has the appropriate technical requirements. And we have a proper Internet connection and complying with certain “etiquette” standards.
Test the configuration of your equipment
Few things provide a worse video conferencing experience than the poor configuration of our equipment. The “Can you hear me?” “I don’t hear from you! I don’t see you!” Not only does it waste our time, but it can be exasperating. So an hour before starting the conference, users should check these following.
See if the webcam works correctly
If we use Windows equipment, we can do it by opening the «Camera» application that we will find in the Start menu. In the case of Mac computers, we can do the same by opening the “Photo Booth” application.
From here, try to adjust the lighting conditions of our workspace and make sure we show what we want to teach, from the right angle.
The vast majority of modern laptops incorporate an ambient microphone. However, its quality is usually not too good, and the sound quality that we are going to transmit in general will be poor. If you can, get headphones that incorporate it discreetly.
The best way to check that they are working fine is to make a previous call to an acquaintance to help you adjust the input volume to its ideal level.
Check the quality of your Internet connection
We are at a time when mass confinement is putting telecommunications networks to the test. This has caused different service providers to slow down the video quality they offer, and even the bandwidth reaching specific neighborhoods and homes has been reduced.
At this point, it must be borne in mind that if after checking the bandwidth that reaches our home (we can check it with a tool as simple as that offered by Google). It is less than 20 MBps, the video that we broadcast will probably be seen pixelated and let’s experience audio delays.
The importance of the Mute button
When several people are involved in a video conference, the “mute” button can become our best ally. It may seem like necessary advice, and everyone takes it into account, but in reality, this is rarely the case.
This is where the importance of “mute” that online video services such as Google Hangouts or Zoom offer us comes into play. The possibility of joining a meeting with the microphone deactivated is useful for many instances. If everything we have to do is to listen, it could be useful to enter the meeting without emitting our audio signal.
An online meeting shouldn’t be much different from a regular meeting. This means that we must do everything possible to keep it in a quiet space. Although the comfort of home allows us to work anywhere, but when conducting a video conference. We must find an isolated space, a closed-door that implicitly communicates that while it remains closed, no one can pass.
Define an agenda
As with face-to-face meetings, videoconferencing can be a huge waste of time. And if establishing an agenda is vital in a face-to-face meeting. Its importance is crucial in a video conference, in which it is much easier to stop paying attention. One classic approach is to ask the participants in the meeting to prepare their speech before entering the videoconference. With specific points to discuss to increase productivity.
Limit the number of Video Conference
Some companies may be tempted to replicate the number of meetings they usually held in an office. However, in a virtual space, chaining consecutive video conferences is not the best idea. Since the preparation is not the same.
Participants, as we have seen, must find the right space. Make sure they have a quiet moment to “stop,” and that they control the environment around them. So yes, video conferencing can be a great substitute for a face-to-face meeting. However, you have to make an effort to organize them only when really necessary.