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How to Host a Professional and Effective Video Conference

August 16, 17
How to Host a Professional and Effective Video Conference

Hopefully, your business no longer experiences extended setup times, poor video quality, and long lags for video conferencing. Today, video conferencing is a vital tool for business organisations. With trends like virtual reality on the horizon, video conferencing looks like it's here to stay - with new features and improvements to help your remote and office-based teams work together.

Trends and benefits of video conferencing

With new video conferencing technologies developing at a rapid pace, businesses can look forward to the following trends.

Best practices for a successful video conference

An effective and productive video conference involves a lot of moving parts, so you'll want to be well prepared and follow a general agenda. Start with familiarising yourself with the tools, and encouraging participants to follow standard business etiquette.

Know your tools

Video conferencing tools are numerous, so get to know them so you can enhance your presentation or discussion. Features can include multi-screen view, interactive whiteboards, visual elements, and real-time chat. You can share files, mute, add participants on mobile phone, and invite people via personalised URLs. Other features might let you change presenters at a click or even conduct real-time polls. These tools can help you save time, improve professionalism, and communicate complex ideas more effectively. Get to know the types of features available with your software or service, and you'll take your video conference to the next level.

Location, background, and lighting

Before the conference, check what your setup looks like from the other attendees' perspective. Get rid of background clutter, and pull down the blinds to cover distracting window views. Review lighting and make sure it's bright enough but not too bright - aim for the middle ground between dimness and glare. Surveys have found background music, noise, and décor to be distractions. Forgetting to switch off your mobile phone and calling in from inappropriate locations (train stations and airports) can also be distracting. Put some thought into your outfit. Stick to standard business attire and avoid loud stripes and brash colours, as these can be an eyesore for the other participants. Solid colours in neutral or darker tones usually work well. Be aware of the range of your focus so you don't go out of sight if you're going to be moving around during the conference. Position your camera so you face it directly. Bottom-to-top and other unflattering angles can be distracting, and they can make your presentation look unprofessional.

Stay engaging

Video conferences can be much more engaging than phone calls, but you need to leverage the visual medium correctly. While a traditional in-person meeting gives you the opportunity to make an impact with hand gestures and facial expressions, these communication tools are often lost in video conferences. You should pay attention to your voice, use visual aids, and enunciate clearly to keep your audience engaged. Avoid reading from a script and try to speak conversationally, with opportunities for interaction and questions. Look into your webcam to mimic eye contact in person. Address attendees by name whenever possible. Use features like chat rooms and interactive whiteboards to heighten engagement and interaction. Visual aids such as photos, videos, and graphs can help you get your message across succinctly. If you're giving a detailed or technical presentation, give your audience notes, so they're not distracted by taking their own.

Follow standard business etiquette

A meeting conducted via video is still a business meeting, so encourage everyone to follow etiquette. Side conversations, eating, drinking, and multitasking can be distracting, and your conference microphones can amplify everything. Mobile phones should be switched off, and contributions - rather than interruptions - scheduled into the meeting agenda. Checking social media is also a turnoff for other participants. A quick reminder at the start will keep the importance of etiquette in everyone's mind. The larger the group, the more important it will be to follow standard etiquette to minimise distractions. If you're working from home, don't be tempted to turn up in your dressing gown. Approach it as you would a standard business meeting. If you treat it informally, the other participants will be just as likely to treat your presentation or input the same way. By having all participants follow standard formalities, your conferences will be more professional, efficient, and productive.

Do a test run

Unlike a standard meeting, you'll be managing equipment, software, and video connections. It helps to do a test run so you can master the multiple moving parts when the time comes. Whether you're doing a presentation or guiding a meeting, practice setting up before the day. Write out your meeting agenda and familiarise yourself with the hardware setup, so you can put everything together quickly and be ready to go on time.

Utilising the benefits of effective video conferencing

Video conferencing seems to have established itself as a key business communication tool, but there are more exciting trends ahead for organisations. Best practice tips will enable you to get the most from your video conferences, along with following a general agenda for your meeting. Targus is a leading supplier of carrying cases and accessories for the mobile lifestyle. We help businesses and individuals by making mobile technology easier and more productive. To find out more about our products, feel free to visit our website or contact us today.
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