More Videoconference Tips: How to Have a Successful Videoconference
Make an Introduction
Always start your videoconference by introducing everyone who is involved in the videoconference. Without this crucial information it will be difficult for everyone to communicate in an efficient manner. Begin any videoconference meeting like you would a normal face to face meeting.
Place your camera above or near the monitor you will be viewing. Putting the camera above or near the monitor you are viewing makes it appear as you are looking the people who you are videoconferencing with in the eye. Looking away from the camera is distracting and will make others feel as if you are looking away from them or ignoring them. If you are doing desktop videoconferencing with your PC then mount your webcam directly over or near your monitor and then look straight ahead.
If you are doing a multi-user videoconference at a table be sure and place the microphone in a place where everyone who speaks can easily have their voice heard. Some videoconference systems can sense who is speaking and will point the video towards this user. In this case make sure everyone is sitting in a place where they can easily be viewed by the video camera.
To show or share documents use a second camera. Don't try to hold your documents up to the camera to show others. It's also a good idea to send documents via FAX or email ahead of time before the conference so everyone has a copy they can view easily without having to look at the video screen.
Do as much testing as possible and solve all technical problems ahead of the videoconference. If you spend the entire meeting trying to solve your technical problems then your meeting will not be efficient and the other people in the meeting may become annoyed. If possible do a test videoconference the day before the meeting to make sure all your equipment is functioning properly. Don't yell out and tap the microphone when the meeting begins. You should test your audio and video before you ever begin a videoconference.
Make sure everyone in the videoconference has adequate lighting. View your own video before you begin the conference to make sure your face is not hidden in a shadow.
Wear Calming Solid Colors
Don't wear extremely bright colors or patterns. Bright colors and patterns appear strange on video and may cause a distraction.
Questions and Responses
To show that you understand what is being said you should nod instead of giving verbal confirmation. Giving verbal confirmation can cause confusion and a delay and cause others to have trouble listening to the person who is currently speaking. When speaking always ask or give time for others to ask questions.
Always speak clearly at a normal volume. There's no need to yell. Trying to talk loudly makes it appear that you do not have experience with videoconferencing technology and that you are angry or you have anxiety about the situation.
Avoid Feedback Loops and Echo
If you are doing a desktop videoconference from your PC you may sometimes get a feedback loop or loud echo sound. To avoid this move your microphone as far away from your speakers as possible. One easy way to avoid this situation is to use a headset with a built in microphone. These headsets can be purchased for around $10 at any computer store.
Keep it Tidy
Make sure you keep your desk area clean and tidy. A messy videoconference table may be distracting for others who are listening to you speak.
For videoconferencing it's always best to use a long narrow table whenever possible. This allows more people to fit in a smaller space and the video camera can easily be pointed to different people involved in the conference.
Other Communication Devices
Be sure and turn off all communication devices such as cell phones before you begin the videoconference. Also mute your PC and turn off MSN or any other messaging programs that may make loud annoying sounds during your presentation.
Who's the boss?
Make one person in charge of the meeting. The person in charge should choose what the meeting will be about and the order in which everyone is speaking. The meeting organizer can also make sure everyone has had their questions answered and can control who is on video at any time.
When asking a question be sure you direct it towards one person by saying their name. If you don't direct your question towards one person it may be difficult for the others in the meeting to determine who you are asking.
Leaving and Entering Rooms
If a new person leaves or enters the room please make this obvious and clear. If someone new joins the conference be sure and stop everything and introduce this new person just like you would do in a normal meeting. People in a videoconference may feel anxiety if people are constantly leaving and entering a room during a meeting.
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