ExecutiveChronicles.com | How to Set Up Your Next Conference Call | Over the past few months, businesses around the world have embraced virtual meetings as the newest and best method for keeping their employees in contact when working from home. Even as lockdown draws to a close, remote working is likely to continue long into the future: fulfilling the long-held prophecy of technological soothsayers.
However, with many employees being utterly unfamiliar with the technology of video conferencing, it is vital to be aware of the essentials required to set up a conference call. No one wants to look like a bumbling fool or squander an opportunity to make the best of a meeting.
Therefore, we’ve put together the best advice to employ before your next conference call.
Test Your Set-Up
Even before lockdown, back in the days of real-life meetings, tech errors were a frustration. These hitches could hold up a meeting for tens of minutes until your disgruntled host gave up and went hunting for the office IT whiz. With virtual conference calls, there is even more that can go wrong, with each participant needing to prep their set-up in advance. Don’t wait till five minutes before the meeting only to find nothing works. Prep. Prep. Prep.
Having a stable internet connection is vital to ensure the meeting goes smoothly. If the connection is slow, the video will stutter, conversations will break down, as your colleague’s contribution transforms from a live stream into a slideshow. Therefore, test your internet speed in advance, and if you’re sharing the internet with others in your home, ask them to hold off for the length of the meeting.
Also, be aware, the more people who join the call, the more bandwidth you require. So, shut down any programs or web pages running in the background.
Video and Audio
Firstly, make sure your camera and microphone work. You can test this through the video conferencing app, or via the specific camera app in your laptop. Take a short video of yourself, and listen back.
Next, set-up somewhere with good natural light. No one wants to see a gloomy shadow lurking in the corner of a virtual meeting. Additionally, the camera should be level with your eyes. So, if necessary, prop up the laptop on a pile of books. Otherwise, everyone will be staring up your nostrils.
One top tip is to change out your background. With hello backgrounds, you can use green screen technology, to replace your home with a calming park or swanky office background for video meetings. Feel free to take a look at their large selection of images and videos.
Create an Agenda
Don’t go into the meeting blind. With video calls, you lose an element of human interaction; therefore, it is much easier for a meeting to get derailed. People can get distracted or lapse into being an observer and not a participant. However, if you have mapped out the session – even a rough plan – then everyone can follow, point by point. If someone becomes momentarily distracted, they can review the agenda to find their place. It also gives the discussion a sense of structure, with a stated goal.
Try Out the Tools
One of the few benefits of using video conferencing software is the sheer range of tools you can use. If you need to talk through your work: share your screen. Need to explain a difficult concept: draw it out on a virtual whiteboard.
Using the tools at your disposal will make meetings more exciting and engaging. Changing the tone from a droning lead speaker, to a conversation between colleagues. Gone are the days of a single slide show; today, people are beginning to expect a higher level of interactivity.
Record the Meeting
Once upon a time, if you missed a meeting, that was that. You might be lucky enough to peruse the minutes. However, today, virtual meetings can be recorded with the click of a button, helping absent colleagues or future new starters. Additionally, it adds a further layer of transparency to your organisation.