A survival guide to Video Conferences and Virtual Meetings

In order to stay connected and collaborate with teams millions of businesses and employees globally are utilising remote working technologies such as video conference and virtual meeting platforms. Microsoft Teams virtual meetings grew by over 1,000 percent in the month of March 2020 and Zoom reached 200 million daily participants (paid and free) up from just 10 million in December 2019. We’re in the era of at-home, web-based, video-inbuilt, headphone-compatible conferencing. For some video conference etiquette comes naturally however, others may need a helping hand to utilise these tools successfully. 

Here are a few tips to survive video conferencing and virtual meetings:

Make use of the inbuilt features

Companies that have designed video conference platforms have paid a lot of thought to what is useful in a virtual meeting. Users are able to record and screen share in real-time which has advantages. The ability to send a personal chat to anyone attending the meeting in place of disrupting the meeting is beneficial. A further benefit is the ability to screen share when discussing web features however, do not be too quick on the button to share unless your screen is 'clean' and remember to turn off notifications.

Use the 'mute' effectively

Most computers these days come with built-in microphones.  These technologies are highly noise-sensitive and pick up on the sounds around you: family members chatting nearby, typing, cutlery, table bangs, etc.  Microphone technology will favour whichever noise is loudest, therefore, ensure that the microphone is close to your mouth and close any doors or windows to seal off outside noise.  If you are not planning to join in on the conversation it is suggested that you mute your microphone to ensure that outside noise is not distracting to others. As you become more familiar with video conferencing the mute /unmute button is at all times very valuable and will become second nature to you. 

Practice patience and give people the time to answer

When asking a question give people the time to unmute their microphones in order to respond. Resist the temptation to immediately ask "can you hear me or are you there?"  Be patient and give them the time to reply.

Optional video/camera function

Users (particularly home working) may have reasons for their camera being off. The best practice is to have your camera on at the beginning or end of the call to greet the person/group visually. Having your camera on during the meeting is personal choice. It is suggested to turn your camera off if you are moving around as excessive motion can be distracting.

Connectivity issues

With a surge in network usage due to the increase in remote working users, internet speed and quality could be affected. When this happens turn off your cameras to increase bandwidth. Although it is always better to visually connect with those on video conference or in virtual meetings it is a luxury and if your connection is unstable it is more important to share screens than see attendees.

Beware of distractions

When there is no physical presence it is easy to get distracted in meetings. Reading rather than listening is easily noticed. Be present during web meetings and stay focused. If the need arises to take another call during your meeting, mute your microphone and turn off your camera. Use the chat feature to excuse yourself, rather than disrupt the conversation.

Use of virtual backgrounds

Some video conference platforms have the potential for virtual backgrounds depending on process speeds. If you have anything other than a plain backdrop, video call participants will be distracted. Callers might be on mute but you just know they are discussing what’s on your bookcase. A company logo virtual background, however, looks professional and creates awareness of your brand.

* YTL suggests the use of UC Cloud Video Conferencing. A safe cost-effective product that is application-based and can be used on laptops, PCs, and installed on Android or iOS mobile phones offering connectivity anytime, anywhere. 

Contact us to find out more or for any assistance with video conferencing.

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Yorkshire Telecommunications Limited. All rights reserved.