The modern workforce – where people can work and collaborate anytime, anywhere – has been alive and well for years. Recent statistics show that for business meetings being conducted worldwide, 54 percent* included remote colleagues connecting via videoconference or other methods.
In today’s environment, that number is expanding at a rapid rate as more of us are working from home. Personally, I am a modern worker – in the office one day, working from home the next, and possibly working from a plane or hotel a day later. I can work just about anywhere. I regularly take video meetings – even on my phone – and have been doing so for years.
Just last week I was on a video call with 30-plus people and it became apparent to me that those new to videoconferences might need a few best practice tips. So, I thought I would share some learnings from my years of experience.
- Get Familiar with the Platform: Whether it’s Zoom, WebEx, Skype video, Microsoft Teams, or another application, get on the platform and familiarize yourself with the capabilities, especially before an important meeting.
- Be Prepared: Have your conference link ready five minutes before the call and be sure to have the phone dial-in numbers handy, in case the computer audio isn’t working. Prepare like it’s a physical meeting and have your notes by your side or presentation slides ready for screen sharing. If you are the organizer, provide an agenda in advance.
- Check Your Audio: This is crucial as you want to be heard clearly and be able to hear others as well. At the onset of the meeting, state your name and test out the audio. If you are in a noisy environment, consider wearing noise-cancelling headphones. And … this one is important … during the call, put your audio function on mute when you are not speaking. You can toggle back and forth as you need to speak. This is particularly important today as so many colleagues have children at home, which can make for added background noise in a home office environment. Muting when not speaking will help you and the other attendees remain focused on the topic at hand.
- Be Camera-Ready: Turn your camera on! There are times, perhaps during a 6 a.m. meeting, where people understand why one would choose not to appear on camera. Generally videoconferencing is preferred, as next to in-person meetings, it is the most powerful and efficient method for delivering communication. Video helps fuel remote workforces and nurture relationships. Make sure your camera is at eye level and work hard to deliver eye contact through the camera. Be sure and check your posture. Don’t display a low-energy slouch or appear on camera laying on your couch. Show off the best you — be alert and sit up straight.
- Get on Early: If you are new to videoconferencing, log in early, to see how you look on the screen. Ensure you are centered in the frame and at eye level. What you see is exactly how the attendees will see you.
- Use the Technology Features: Use collaboration tools, such as whiteboard, to share ideas and to help others visualize what you are discussing or trying to convey. To get people engaged, use poll and chat functions, if available, and strongly consider using the record function to get transcripts and video to send out as follow-ups. If you are going to record a meeting, it is common courtesy to ask participants first and tell them you will later share the recording with everyone on the call. Wait to gain confirmation from the meeting participants before pressing record.
The videoconferencing world is now flooded with a growing group of new participants. Jump in to this modern workforce environment with colleagues, customers and partners and let’s keep business moving forward in the best way we know how – by staying connected.
Happy videoconferencing all!
To learn more about Tech Data’s solutions enabling the anytime, anywhere modern workforce, click here.
About the Author
Lisa Zierold serves as the director for Tech Data’s Visual Edge, Gaming and Components Solutions, and focuses on delivering audio-visual, workforce collaboration and smart signage to the marketplace. Lisa is responsible for the go-to-market strategy, vendor relationship management, inside solution sales, specialized field sales and partner programs to support the delivery of technology solutions to a broad range of vertical industries – often including integrated IoT and data analytics capabilities. She plays an active role in Tech Data’s Diversity & Inclusion and Women in Leadership councils, and is a member of AVIXA, the association representing the professional audiovisual and information communications industries worldwide. See more of Lisa’s professional background on her LinkedIn profile.
*Wainhouse Research, 2015, The Collaborative Enterprise