Video conferencing is becoming an increasingly popular way to communicate in business as an alternative to attending a traditional meeting. It can prove exceptionally effective when the required people are not able to get to the same place but a discussion, decision or deal is needed there and then.
Meeting face-to-face online is an excellent substitute for in-person interactions, so to ensure you get the most out of it, it is important to familiarise yourself with the software prior to using it. With that in mind, here are five tips to ensure professionalism is maintained and your online meetings go well:
1. Set up the software in advance.
Spending some time acquainting yourself with the system and all of the additional tools is essential. So make use of any free trials and helpful “how-to’s” to ensure that you are using the software to its’ full potential. Set everything up in advance, test the equipment and encourage everyone invited to the meeting to do the same.
2. Have a Meeting Agenda.
Make sure you plan for a video conference the same as you would with a traditional meeting. Set out an agenda as this will provide structure and prevent the conversation from going off on a tangent. By keeping the discussion flowing, you will inspire discussion and debate, making for a more fruitful outcome.
3. Prevent Disruptions
Write a short list of ‘Best Practice’ notes and send to those invited prior to meetings. Include things like; turn off radios, shut doors and windows, turn phones to silent and avoid eating and drinking.
With web conferencing now taking place in high definition, it means that the visual and sound quality is impeccable, making it even more important to ensure that people are aware of their surroundings and potential background noise.
4. Keep Within your Visible Space
If something needs to be illustrated or demonstrated to the group then it should be visible either using the physical space that all can see or by using the online tools such as the interactive whiteboard and desktop sharing. Avoid gesturing to things outside the physical space that the other attendees can’t see.
5. Understand the Importance of Body Language.
Every bit of effort normally spent on working to make others feel comfortable and able to work together should be assumed as if you are meeting face-to-face. Just because you are not in the same room does not mean that you shouldn’t dress appropriately or that you can act more casually. Approach the web conference the same as you would if you had to go to an actual meeting and so ensuring that you are portrayed in the same light.
With more and more meetings taking place via software like OmniJoin, Brother Video Conferencing, preparing yourself and others is a fundamental task. With proper preparation you will be able to promote your ideas to a wider and more varied audience.
Blaine Pike is the community manager in the UK for OmniJoin, Brother’s brand new web conferencing service. Blaine blogs regularly about business efficiency, productivity tips and the latest trends in web conferencing technology for UK SMBs at www.wegettheanswers.co.uk. He also runs the @OmniJoinUK Twitter account, where he discusses the latest stories around web conferencing with the SMB community every day.