The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns imposed on many countries has forced organisations to fast-track their implementation of videoconferencing.
Zoom, Cisco Webex, Skype, or GoTo Meetings have become daily tools for many professionals.
Having great tools at our disposal does not necessarily mean that we know how to use them well.
Here are a couple of tips to improve your web meetings.
Tip #1 Make sure you look your best
Of course a clean and neutral look is important. But it is not enough! You can also:
- Make sure that you have good lighting. The best lighting is often natural lighting: if you can, position your computer close to a window during the meeting. Either facing the window (ideal to light your face evenly), or with a window on the side.
- If you can, position your webcam so that it is at eye level, or hairline level. This will definitely give a better look than webcams positioned at the bottom of the screen, and shooting from below
Tip #2 Audio matters
- Find a quiet place and, as much as possible, make sure that you reduce background noise to a minimum (sometimes even a fan or a refrigerator can become distracting for your microphone, and therefore for your audience)
- Wired headphones and microphones have usually better performances than wireless ones. In all cases, a good quality headphone and microphone set is always a good investment to improve the quality of your meetings
- Stay muted if it’s not your turn to speak. This will avoid background noise disrupting other participants.
Tip #3 Realise that… you are on camera!
All meeting participants are seeing you. Your facial responses to what is being said are visible. People can also see if you are distracted (typing an email, looking at something in other window, checking your phone, etc). Be aware of that, and make sure that you show you are attentive.
To go around these issues, many people are tempted not to show their camera during meetings. However, it is counter productive because actually seeing your interlocutor plays a big part in effective communication.
Tip #4 If you are the host, set ground rules
Setting ground rules for the meeting is important for effective meetings:
- If you need everyone on video, say it. If you’d rather have an audio-only meeting, say it too.
- Mute all speakers at the official start of the meeting: you won’t have distracting background noise from participants
- Let other speakers know when it’s their time to talk. Send them a private message for example.