Six Ways to Improve Your Virtual Meetings
Over the past few months your spare room, kitchen or home office has been the place where you and your teams handle virtual meetings and conferences for your clients and networks.
By now, you’ve been on enough videoconference calls to understand what’s been dubbed by the media as Zoom fatigue – the problem of having to live our lives online for hours at a time, day in day out.
Over the past few months, our friends at ByThisRiver, video and virtual meeting experts, has been running training courses to help people get to grips with the issues around video conferencing and why, for many of us, it is so draining.
Here are six ways to get the best out of your next virtual meeting:
Does it have to be a video call/meeting?
Ever since lockdown, virtual conferencing has taken over our work and home lives. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Whether it’s an internal or external meeting, building in options to be flexible and recognise that all of us are having to spend a lot more of our lives online. You could just use the good old fashioned telephone!
Experiment with tech
For live events and virtual conferences, spend time really getting used to the different technologies at your fingertips. All platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. They are consistently updating their functionalities too, so it’s worth asking your resident IT or technophile to monitor and share new features as they come onstream.
Basic internet tech tips
Get as close as you can to your router ahead of the call. If you haven’t done so recently, turn the router on and off again ahead of an important video call. Also for crucial meetings and events, if you and your team can use an ethernet cable rather than wi-fi, it removes one potential problem with connection.
Sound as important as vision
Broadcasters will tell you that viewers always prefer to watch a substandard video with good sound to good picture and bad sound. Our brains struggle to read the cues on people’s faces anyway when online, so if you’re having problems with buffering in a group meeting, try turning off your camera to decrease both bandwidth usage and stress for all.
The headsets that come with phones are not the best option, because the microphone is not near your mouth, and because they’re not good at reducing background noise. It’s worth investing in a simple headset (£30-50) to improve the experience for yourself and others – or if you will be doing a lot of presenting, a desk mounted microphone (£50-200). In both cases choose one that works via USB.
Choose a well-lit room & neutral backdrop
The more you can take the time to find a well-lit, quiet part of your home, the better. Sitting with the window behind you will make it hard for you to be seen. Light needs to be falling on your face and use lighting if you have a very dark space. Avoid busy backgrounds too, this can be distracting to your audience and makes it harder for you to keep their attention.
Some platforms have features that can enhance appearances at the click of a button, adding virtual backgrounds to remove or obscure domestic backgrounds. You can even create your own branded versions too. This is great, but the tech is not failsafe and people can disappear when moving around – so it’s always worth testing internally first.
Smile, you’re on camera
Web cameras can drain the life out of you. The trick therefore, is to dial up how you naturally communicate, with your whole body.
While it’s distracting to see yourself on the screen in front of you, we all need to practise moving our focus to the camera. Look for the little dot on your computer or phone and remember that is where to bring your attention. Over time you will become more used to it.
Need some help boosting yours or your business’s online presence?
ByThisRiver offer live training and clinics to help people either individually or in groups. If you’d like some advice, technical or otherwise, please contact Wendy: 07866 263242