Top 10 Tips for Successful Video Conferencing

Laurie Berg, AVI-SPL marketing, has over 10 years of experience in the video conferencing industry. She went from working with early desktop confrencing with CUSeeMe to mobile conferencing at RADVISION, seeing the transformation and adoption of video from the ground floor. Below, Laurie offers her tips to remember when video conferencing.

It’s been 10+ years since I began in the video conferencing industry. Back then, video conferencing was like something out of a science-fiction movie. The only people who used it were those who worked for large companies.

Oh how times have changed. Video is everywhere – from conference rooms to desktops to phones to social networking sites.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use some sort of video, whether for work or pleasure. My 5-year-old nephew started using video at the age of 3. (OK, that was my influence, but still…)

But with every new technology, there are those moments where you wish you could reach through the screen and ?!?! That’s what brings me to this post — The Top 10 Tips for Successful Video Conferencing.

10. If you can’t see them, they can’t see you. Remember in elementary school what you were taught about how to cross in front of a school bus? If you can’t see the bus driver, the bus driver can’t see you. Well, it’s the same with video. When you reach down to pick something up off the floor, or you get up to get something, other participants can’t see you. They may be able to hear you, but they can’t see you. As good as video is today, the other participants are not in the same room with you. When you vanish from screen it can be very frustrating to the people trying to meet and collaborate with you.

9. Talking louder doesn’t help. Every once in a while, audio technology has to be tweaked. Maybe a microphone needs to be moved, maybe there is a network issue. Whatever the problem is, don’t talk louder. It doesn’t fix the problem.

8. Sit in a properly lit room. Sure, we know you’re not sitting in the dark, but make sure wherever you are connecting from has enough light and that it is placed correctly. We know you’re perfect, but you don’t need that sun-made halo over your head. Where you place the light is dependent on the room you are in. In the office, overhead light works very well, but if you’re away from the office, sometimes you may need light on both sides of the room. It can be trial-and-error.

7. Cell phones. Turn them off. Cell phones, kids, dogs, it’s all the same — background NOISE (auditory and visual). There is nothing worse than being in a meeting and being distracted by what is going on at the other end. The dogs and cats are cute, but I’m pretty sure they have nothing to add to the budget discussion.

6. Pass the Dramamine. It is certainly necessary to have your camera angled correctly. No one wants to see a blank wall instead of the person talking. But set the camera prior to the meeting. That quick-moving image can make others feel like they are in a storm on a paddleboat.

5. I know you love plaid, but really? Plaid, checkers, polka dots, leopard print – they’re all beautiful, but they don’t stream well over video. If it looks dizzy on you, it looks dizzy on camera.

4. Wearing a hat means you haven’t showered. Just because video is accessible everywhere, it doesn’t mean you have to look like you just woke up from a nap. When you connect with people, regardless of whom they are, you should internally assume you are in the same room with them. You wouldn’t wear a baseball hat to a meeting in your office — don’t wear one to a meeting over video.

3. How much multitasking is too much? I know, I know, we all do it. We have the technology today to do 15 different things at once. We can answer an email, update Facebook and fix dinner all at the same time. But the ability to multitask does not mean to ignore what is happening in the meeting.

2. Please don’t roll your eyes at me. Remember, I can see you.

And the Number One thing to remember when videoconferencing…

1. Mute if you’re not talking. We’ve all experienced it. Mute/unmute, it’s as easy as pressing a button. With so much background noise out there, it is always best practice to mute your microphone if you’re not talking. The crumple of a paper, people talking in the hallway, someone coming in to ask you a question — they can all cause a distraction.

 And so, with this top 10 list, I say, “Go video conference. It’s easy. It’s everywhere. And it truly does make communication more productive.”

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