Video conferencing – how to do it right?

non verbal communication

Video conferencing is one of the most effective and valuable communication tools for remote working. Users from multiple locations can interact with each other in a way that is most similar to an in-person meeting.

To conduct a successful video meeting, certain rules should be followed: We have already written about “Dos and dont’s of effective web conferencing” whilst some of those tips are pertinent for video conferencing as well, video calls do require extra etiquette guidelines. Follow our guide to learn how to conduct an effective remote meeting via video conference.

1. Preparing the video call

Being prepared for any meeting (in-person or online) is essential for its success.

meeting preparation

1.1 Select a video conferencing tool

There are various videoconferencing solutions on the market. Choosing the right one depends on the specific communication needs of your business. However, it has to be user-friendly, easy to navigate during the conversation, and compatible with the OS (operation system) of most devices. The ease of use is one of the most important features of the ideal video conferencing tool. Considering that you won’t always know what the technical knowledge of the other people taking part in the video meeting is, you should choose a solution that:

• doesn’t require complex software downloads or installation,
• is optimized for mobile
• can invite participants via a sharable link
• can be accessed fast and easily by everyone one

Start a free video conference now from any location and any device.

1. 2 Checking your internet connection

To communicate well with your colleagues, partners, or clients via a video call you need a stable internet connection. Having high-speed connectivity ensures that audio and video are well synchronized, guaranteeing a smooth conversation without visual disruptions or audio inconsistency.

1.3 Testing your microphone, camera and screen sharing options

Running a few tests before a business video conference (with a friend or co-worker) is a must. Make sure you understand how the technology works and check your equipment:

• Mute and unmute the microphone to make a soundcheck
• Figure out what is the best placement for your video camera

It shouldn’t be positioned too low or too high but at eye level. Leave enough distance between you and the camera so that your upper body can be seen. That way the participants can read your body language – like hand gestures or body posture.

• Try screen sharing options – clean your desktop

We kindly advise you to test it several times before the video meeting. Do not forget to clear your desktop, so that any personal or sensitive information is not visible to your conference partners.

1.4. Sending meeting invitation and agenda

Sending the meeting invitation and agenda with all the necessary information and documents should happen several days before the video conference. The participants need enough time to get acquainted with the information to be prepared for the meeting. This ensures that both communication and collaboration will run smoothly during the video conference.

2. Work environment preparation

2.1 Organising your workspace

Finding a quiet place

a) At the office
Being in a meeting room with a professional conference phone with built-in noise-proof technology ensures excellent audio and video quality. Make sure to book it in advance. Otherwise, it is best to isolate yourself. If this is not possible, advise your nearest colleagues of the time and date of your video conference to minimize background noise (discussion, music, …) and interruptions.

b) In a public place
If you are connecting from a public place (ex: a coffee shop or an airport) it is highly recommended to use headphones to eliminate background noise and be able to hear other participants clearly. Try avoiding busy hours.

c) At home
At the home office, choose a quiet place: a room where children, roommates, family members, or pets cannot interfere during your meeting. Advise them that you are in a business meeting and should not be disturbed.

Pay attention to your background

Set your device camera keeping in mind that your background will be seen by your conference partners. Make sure it is:

• work-appropriate
• clean
• without distracting objects
• properly lit

Some solutions on the market offer to blur your background. Make sure to test it several times before your video conference.

2.2 Having the right lighting

It is important to pay sufficient attention to the lighting during a video call to show professionalism:
• Have enough natural light in the room
• Avoid mixing natural and artificial light
• The light upon your face should come from the side for a better rendering
• Once you turn on your camera make sure your face is not in the dark

3. Professional behavior during a video meeting

3.1 Pay attention to your appearance

The home office dress code is often associated with sweatshirts, training suits, and even pajamas. Taking part in a video conference means you should be dressed appropriately even from home. Having a fresh, clean and reasonably good appearance is the bare minimum. A good rule to follow is to avoid extreme color patterns or stripes as this may cause distraction during the video call. Do not forget your body posture – it should be natural, but upright and focused.

3.2 Keep your preview window open

Having your preview window open during the video call will remind you to smile, relax and act naturally. If you are an experienced video caller you have probably mastered your on-camera behavior. But for beginners, it is important to be able to observe themselves during the meeting. See it as a mirror that lets you know how other participants see you during the meeting. When speaking, look at your camera… not your screen. This allows viewers to feel that you are connecting and interacting with them, making them more engaged. When someone else is talking, looking at the screen is not an issue.

3.3 Speaking one at a time and being patient

Being in a video call creates a different approach when you want to speak, compared to in-person meetings. Wait a few seconds to find out if there is a sound delay before you proceed. You may also signal with a gesture that you want to speak.

Do not cut somebody off – It will be counterproductive and very frustrating to communicate that way. According to a report by State of Remote Work 2019 the two major problems during video meetings are interruptions and being talked over. Usually, it is part of the job of your host to manage the virtual discussion properly – appointing one person to speak at a time.

In case you are hosting a video call – State your rules when all the participants have joined the video conference. Another useful suggestion is to have a Q&A session at the end of the meeting when everybody will be able to participate in a certain order. This should also be mentioned at the beginning of the video call.

3.4 Mute your microphone

Background noise can be very distracting during video meetings. Make sure your microphone is muted when you are not speaking. It does remain vital to be able to switch your volume on and off rapidly to guarantee you reply promptly.

3.5 Pay attention to the video discussion

During the video conference, you should be attentive, focused, and respectful as in a real in-person business meeting. Do not try to multitask – like sending emails, reading articles, or communicating with someone else. You are in a video meeting and your body language says it all. If you need to look at some files related to the discussion of course you can do it, but please let the rest of the group know it. Create an instant video conference room for a successful remote meeting!

4. The golden rule

Being punctual (if you host the meeting) and prepared if you are a participant are the golden rules of conference calls and video meetings. Late arrival will certainly disrupt the flow of the meeting, simply due to background noises or apologies. Plan your next productive video meeting with the Mixvoip video conferencing solution.

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