So, are you ready to organize your first videoconference? Before you start, there are some things you should know about video conferencing software and why online conferencing can be a bit more difficult to master. With many of us at home for the foreseeable future, video conferencing has become a staple for work and education. But how do you organize a good videoconference?
This guide will show you the basic steps for an (almost) perfect video conference. Read on!
Troubleshoot before the meeting begins
If you’re new to online meetings, one of the best tips you’ll get is to always resolve issues before the meeting begins. Once a meeting begins, if you fumble with a microphone or camera, it can become incredibly distracting for everyone else on the call. Not to mention, an unprepared meeting host can seem unorganized.
If you are using a new HD videoconferencing software, take the time to find your way around before making a call. Make sure your microphone and camera are both working with the software. If you are using a mobile device, make sure that the device’s camera is good enough to capture a decent image. A pixelated image can also be annoying!
Any hardware issue should be resolved as soon as possible. Another tip is to open the meeting 10 minutes in advance to allow others to troubleshoot issues with the live meeting. This way everyone has a troubleshooting pad to work with if something goes wrong.
Dress as if you were in person
There is a misconception that online meetings are always occasional and people who work from home stay in their pajamas all day. Ok maybe we do this sometimes, but it’s a good idea not to show up to a meeting in your new onesie. Why? Because it is unprofessional.
When you head to an online meeting, the best thing to do is treat it like an in-person meeting. This means that you may have to ditch the onesie for a button-down shirt or blouse. If anything, you can dress from the waist up and keep your pajama bottoms on! Ultimately, however, it creates a better habit if you dress for work every day and dress appropriately for meetings. Use the mantra “If I wouldn’t wear it to the office, I won’t wear it to the meeting”.
Use the mute button
The mute button is the most powerful tool available to meeting participants, and the host and participants should be familiar with it. The general rule is to always mute the microphone unless it’s you who speaks. This helps eliminate potential background noise and ensures that everyone is able to concentrate for the duration of the call.
Let’s be honest, everyone knows what it’s like to be in a meeting that feels like you’re outside with the neighbor’s lawnmower or sitting next to the barking dog. Too much noise is annoying and unpleasant, so hit that mute button! As the host, you can also mute other callers. So if you are having an issue where someone is not as familiar with the mute button as you would like, you can do the intro.
Use an agenda
Good meetings have a plan in place in advance. Using a meeting agenda can help you better organize the meeting and keep it condensed. By using the 45-minute rule, your meetings are short and to the point. With a time limit and an agenda, you will be able to participate in online meetings in no time and achieve the valuable goals you have set for the team.
An agenda isn’t just for the host, however. You can share your calendar a few days in advance to get feedback from your attendees for a more cohesive meeting.
Asking questions and encouraging others to ask
It’s important to keep meetings open to questions and to ask questions yourself. Encouraging participation is crucial for a productive meeting, and questions are the perfect conversation starter for video conference calls. If you are unsure of something, find out. Encourage others to do the same. Keep the room open for a few minutes after your first meeting in case anyone has a question or comment.
It’s also important to make sure your content is as engaging as possible. Engaging content makes meetings more productive because it keeps everyone involved for the duration of the call. Here are some tips for creating engaging meeting content.
Send a post-meeting survey
Finally, sending a post-meeting survey can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Your first meeting will have a few flaws, and that’s okay. There is always room to grow taller, but you can’t grow taller if you don’t know what you’ve done wrong.
Ask your attendees to share their thoughts on how the meeting went, as well as provide feedback for the next time. After all, who knows better than the people who were actually there?