Tips for Optimal Video Conferencing Experience

Tips for Optimal Video Conferencing Experience

07/10/20 Laura Gibbons

With many still working from home and meeting remotely, there are some key tips to maximize the virtual conference experience.

First, be on time. As we may not be in our normal structured work office, it is important to keep alerted to meeting start times. Waiting on multiple individuals to join the conference can be disruptive and not respectful of others’ time and can lead to less effective online meetings.

Choose to have your camera on. We may not always feel like having our camera on for a variety of reasons, but being able to see each other virtually replicates the meeting experience. You are better able to engage and connect with others as we can lose that feeling of connectedness when not regularly seeing each other in person.

Mute your microphone. To help keep background noise to a minimum, make sure you mute your microphone when you are not speaking if there are multiple attendees. When your microphone is not muted, be mindful of background noise and avoid activities that could create additional noise, such as shuffling papers, typing, phone ringer, dogs barking, and other distracting noises.

Limit distractions and multi-tasking. You can make it easier to focus on the meeting by turning off notifications, closing or minimizing running apps, and muting your smartphone.  Mitigating these distractions helps keep the meeting focused and free from interruption. You’ll retain the discussion better if you refrain from replying to emails or text messages during the meeting and wait to work on a pending project until after the meeting ends.

Position your camera at eye level. Eye to eye contact is the best connection and so look at the camera directly and straight ahead.  This creates a more direct sense of engagement with other participants.  If you need to make adjustments, stack books under your laptop until your eye meets the webcam.

Good lighting. Lighting can be tricky on a video call. Positioning a lamp directly by your face or facing a light source can provide appropriate lighting. Sidelight and backlight can cause shading. Avoid sitting with your back to the window, as the camera will expose for the light and make you into a silhouette. Instead, flip it, and face the window, which will give you soft, people-pleasing light.

Prepare materials in advance. If you will be sharing content during the meeting, make sure you have the files and/or links ready to go before the meeting begins so that you are not delaying the meeting trying to access or compile your information after the meeting has started.

Maintain a work-appropriate background. You want people focusing on the meeting content, not what’s behind you. Whether your home office is a bit cluttered, a bookshelf containing lots of trinkets, or other distractions in the room, keeping your background plain and simple like blank walls or limited wall art, is less distracting. Zoom’s virtual background feature is one easy way to eliminate background distractions when you have to meet in a messy or busy location.

Professional appearance. Although we may not be going into the office, getting ready for the day as if we were can make us feel that we are presenting our best self. When on a video call, your clothes can matter. A plain, solid color tends to reflect best rather than wearing a busy plaid or patterned shirt. And depending on your work culture, meeting with your team versus a client or customer may be more casual.

Although we still want to be professional, working from home and joining zoom or other video conference calls have provided us more respect and understanding of ourselves and others who are trying to balance work and life. Whether kids are screaming or popping into a call, dogs barking, or maybe getting caught in a downpour right before a meeting, it definitely humanizes us and the many parts that make up our lives.

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