With the inset of work from home tradition throughout the country, everything related to jobs has become online. Along with your work, all the meetings and conferences these days are organized through online modes. The usage of online meeting platforms like zoom, skype, etc. has also hyped to a great extent.
Even though online work proves to be comforting and easier for most people, online meetings or video conferencing might become an issue. It is easier to attend a personal meeting in the office as you are present there. The office environment itself is formal and hence you don’t need to worry about setting up things. Even interacting and understanding during a personal meeting is much easier than an online one.
However, if you have been allotted work from home, it seems like you don’t have many choices. You will have to attend the video conferences anyhow. When we say video conferences, we are not talking about just the meetings you need to attend after you join a job. Interviews these days are also done through video conferences. And, if you are new to this, giving an online interview might be a tough task for you.
So, here are some of the best ways through which you can improve your video conferencing skills and avoid common mistakes while attending a video meeting.
● Be on time!
Being late is a bad meeting etiquette no matter whether you are attending an offline meeting or an online one. Always be on time for a meeting. If you join the meeting late it portrays that you are a careless person. However, being on time in a meeting shows that you are sincere towards your work and your colleagues.
Moreover, if you are the organizer then join the meeting a little earlier than the actual joining time. Online work tends to save time so let it do its work. Don’t waste your and other people’s time by being late for a video conference.
Being late to an office meeting is seen as a lack of responsibility which is not at all good for your image. Make sure that your phone or laptop is working properly, the audio is working, there is no connectivity problem, and other things a few minutes before the meeting begins.
● Keep your video on!
Many of us try to keep our video off while attending a video conference or a video meeting. Well, it has become almost unavoidable to keep the cameras on.
As online platforms are the only way of interacting with each other, keeping the video off minimizes the level of engagement among different members of the meeting, this leads to a very boring and blunt conference.
Hence, always keep your camera on, especially if it is asked to do so. Never make false excuses like there is a problem with the camera or anything else just to avoid showing your face.
Make all the arrangements prior to the beginning of the online conference. Set up your laptop or phone and other things in front of a clean background. Sitting in front of a plain wall is the best option while video conferencing. Adjust the camera angle. Don’t keep your camera too close or too far from your face. The person speaking to you or hearing to you should be able to see you properly.
● Keep the noises away!
Another major mistake that people make while attending a video conference is to locate them to a noisy place. Never attend a meeting from a place that is too crowded or have any type of loud external noises.
Noise from the background creates disturbances and ends up breaking the flow of the conference. There is almost zero percent chance that a video conference is scheduled immediately without any prior information. So, if you are informed before the actual day and time of the meeting, it is your responsibility to arrange a peaceful and right environment where you can attend the meeting.
Coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, living rooms with family members sitting there, etc. are not at all good places to join a video conference. Also, make sure that when someone else is speaking, your microphone should be turned off so that the speaker isn’t affected by any noise coming from your side. Switch on your microphone only when you need to speak something.
Also, always keep your device on silent. Any type of notification tone may also end up creating a disturbance in the meeting.
● Don’t send private messages!
Many people tend to share private messages through zoom while a video conference is going on. Now, if you are sending a message personally and not in a group conversation, it is pretty simple that you don’t want others to read it.
But, don’t make this mistake ever. Recently, some people discovered that, while you are on a video conference on zoom and you send private messages to someone, the messages might not end up staying private. If the organizer sets up the conference recording on their laptop, there are chances that your messages will also be recorded on their device. So, if you don’t want others to read your personal messages make sure you don’t send any during the conference.
● Choose laptops over phones!
It is true that most video calling apps are designed to work on both phones as well as laptops. However, it is a better choice to opt for a laptop rather than a phone.
Joining a professional video conference through a mobile phone seems like you lack the required level of professionalism in yourself.
Also, the formats of mobile phones and laptops are different. Laptops have a horizontal format of video calls. On the other hand, mobile phones have a vertical viewing format. So, in case you are forced to use a phone for joining the meeting, make sure you adjust it horizontally.
Also, attending a video conference from a phone can be very difficult for you. It is very hard to achieve screen stability from a mobile phone. So, always try and arrange a laptop or computer to attend a video conference.
● Dress accordingly!
As soon as video conferencing became a thing, memes of people just dressing the upper body for a meeting got viral just like a fire in the jungle. People generally plan just wearing some formal shirt or coat or upper wear and wear some casual pajamas or shorts under.
Well, this trick might work in some cases but will end up creating a mess in others. Just imagine a case that you are attending a video conference in one room half-dressed formally and half like you are chilling at home and suddenly, some urgent work comes up. It could be an emergency or your kids or wife starts yelling and you have to go stop them or spill something on yourself. You will have to stand up and at that point, it’s going to get ugly.
So don’t make this mistake ever. It is only going to take a few seconds extra to wear pants or trousers. So dress up as you are going for an office conference. The better and the more formally you dress up, the more professional you are going to look.
● Bad internet is not an excuse!
It is always a good idea to get a wifi connection in your house that assures good internet connectivity in this era of work from home. A bad internet connection can never prove to be an excuse for your blurred face or distorted voice.
You know that you have a meeting, so stay prepared. If you have an internet issue at your home, go visit your friend’s place or a nearby library that has a meeting room and wifi or some co-working space.
● Prepare well!
Preparation is a very important part of a video conference. If you are going to give a presentation at the video conference, make sure that you are well prepared. Revise everything a little while before you go online for the meeting.
Even when you don’t have to present something, if there is some common topic of discussion mentioned in the meeting invite, go through that topic. Get an overview of it. Knowing a background of what is going to be discussed in the video conference always works as an advantage.
● Deal with technical issues wisely!
Generally, whenever someone is not able to hear us, we tend to shout or make our voice louder. Well, the habit continues in video conferencing as well.
But, this is the wrong way. Never yell or increase your volume if someone is not able to hear you. Instead, try to resolve the issue patiently. If the issue is not from your side then help your colleague to resolve their problem.
Never lose your confidence or get nervous just because of these technical glitches. Stay calm and confident and seek out the issues you are facing.
● Always look into the camera!
People often switch to other windows while attending a video conference either to take a break or to read a presentation. When you switch the tabs or window, the zoom screen gets minimized and moves to the bottom of the screen. This is where the problem begins.
You will be reading a presentation with your eyes straight and then in order to engage the other members you will need to move your eyes slightly down.
Now, the camera isn’t going to move, so this eye movement from front to low again and again is going to be visible and would create a lack of interest among the listeners.
So make sure you drag the minimized zoom screen near the camera that is towards the top of your screen. Also, look towards the camera every now and then to engage more people with you.
Know your software!
Whatever software you are going to use for video conferencing, make sure you know the features before the conference starts. If you are new to the software and haven’t used it ever, open it and look at different features. You can ask one of your colleagues to do a trial conference with you. Also, you can take help from tutorials available on Google and YouTube in case you face any issues.
● Never speak over others!
You should avoid speaking simultaneously when someone else is speaking. It will disturb that person and break his or her flow of thoughts. Moreover, it will create a sense of nuisance in the meeting and other members would not be able to understand either of you two people.
So, always listen when someone is speaking. Be patient and wait for your turn before you start expressing your thoughts. Many online video conferencing platforms provide a feature to raise hands. So, if you have a question or you want to add something to what someone else is speaking, raise your hands virtually.
● Stay focused!
Don’t think that as it is a video conference you can mute yourself and do whatever you want to do. In a video conference staying focused is as important as it would be in an office conference meeting.
Don’t try to mute yourself and talk to others. Eating during a meeting is completely unprofessional until or unless it is a lunch meeting where you are allowed to eat along with attending the conference. Don’t use your phone for texting or calling. Keep all your concentration on the conference.
● Clean your desktop!
So, the most embarrassing thing that could happen during a video conference is that you share your screen and suddenly you remember that you forgot to clear the tabs. In case any of your personal chats are opened or some kind of inappropriate tab is open, it will be very embarrassing for you.
So, before you share your screen make sure you close all the unnecessary tabs and check once for any unfortunate window spills.