Many individuals are still operating out of their homes in the wake of the outbreak, so video conferences are likely to be around for a long time. Even if you and your colleagues have mastered the art of pausing and resuming a recording, it’s likely that you’ll still sometimes run across faces that are difficult to make out, due to lighting conditions or busy backgrounds. Who here has had difficulty keeping a remote meeting on topic or felt like they were continuously interrupting others? (Us, too.)
The potential benefits of video conferences outweigh the drawbacks. Some insiders weigh in with advice on anything from planning an itinerary to capturing the best possible shot.
Make Sure the Light Is On Your Face
It might be difficult to make an emotional connection with someone online if your face is obscured by shadows or glare. Setting up a light on each side of the camera is a quick and easy fix. Becker proposes upgrading to a more professional configuration by installing two clamp lights with LED bulbs facing you from each side. There won’t be any “hard shadows” over your eyes or on your cheeks, he explains, since the light is spread out so evenly over the face.
The best location for a natural light source for online meetings is directly in front of your computer screen. Reduce glare and avoid making your colleagues feel like you’re speaking out of the shadows by taking this precaution.
Utilize All the Resources Available
The videoconferencing system your firm uses comes with a number of features meant to increase the efficiency of your business gatherings. With features like “raise hand” and “breakout rooms,” participants may make it clear when they want to speak, and larger groups can work together on projects in more intimate settings. People who struggle with impromptu thought or who are shyer than others might benefit from the conversation feature as well.
The added benefit of these methods of interaction is that they may make it easier for everyone’s opinions to be heard. “The alternative is silence, uncomfortable pauses, and crosstalk,” Vengoechea warns.
Practicing with the tools in advance is also suggested so that they don’t become a distraction during a meeting.
Do Not Disengage Even When You Are Not Talking
If you’re not the one in charge of a virtual meeting, it’s easy to be sidetracked by other things, like checking your Slack or answering emails. O other people can sense when you are trying to juggle too many tasks at once.
A screen separating you won’t stop them from sensing that your thoughts are elsewhere. You shouldn’t engage in such behaviors online if you wouldn’t do them in person, so keep that in mind.
Put away any potential interruptions so you can offer your coworkers your undivided attention. Put your phone away, turn off alerts, or plug into noise-cancelling headphones, as Vengoechea suggests.
Record the Meetings
Failure to record the conversation or take minutes is another issue that Spraggs often encounters in online conferences. Having a record of what happened (through audio, video, or notes) can help clear up any ambiguity concerning future actions. People who were unable to attend may also catch up with the discussion. She warns against a “he said, she said” dispute about who really made certain commitments.
Platforms like Skype and Zoom make it easy to record meetings and distribute the recordings to attendees through email. A volunteer notetaker should be sought out at the beginning of each meeting. Once they have completed them, they may be distributed between coworkers to ensure uniformity of approach.
Show Yourself on Video
Showing up to a meeting with a smile on your face shows that you care about what’s being discussed. He explains that not being on camera is the equivalent of having one’s arms crossed, one’s feet up on the table, and one’s attention focused only on what other people are saying.
However, there will always be times when you or a coworker don’t want to be recorded, so it’s important to communicate whether or not you need to see everyone’s faces before starting a meeting. If the event is a presentation in which most people will have their volume turned down (as opposed to a conversation that necessitates their active involvement), then making the use of microphones optional is appropriate.
Even if you don’t want to be on camera, it’s still a good idea to have a profile picture up on the video conferencing site so that people know it’s you when they log in.
If working through video calls sounds like something you could do, check out “Jobs You Can Do From Anywhere“.