Once the exclusive domain of large companies and far-flung businesses, quality video conferencing is now an everyday feature at most offices. Gone are the days of systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars (plus required attendant IT staff); today, your business can find slick products and cloud services for under $1,000. Which begs the question: are you ready for your close-up?
From weird echoes to a shadowy screen, it’s easy to execute a less-than-ideal video conference experience. But whether connecting with a prospective client, interviewing a new recruit or just bringing the team together, you’ll want to ensure a professional experience. So here are six steps to make sure your next video conference runs flawlessly:
- Find the right position: Just about any camera-enabled device can connect to today’s systems. Whether you’re connecting from a conference-room system, your home office or even your phone, take into account the position of your equipment. Hit the “preview” button to test out your own image: are you sitting too far away? Too low? In a position that makes you look too relaxed? Avoid glare by making sure you’re not pointing the camera at a direct light source (think windows or lamps), and test the sound to ensure the volume is set properly.
- Clean up nice: Just because it’s happening from your living room doesn’t mean you get to hang out un-showered or halfway dressed. The fact that this meeting is coming to you shouldn’t change the way you’d otherwise prepare for an office meeting, so groom accordingly: That means neat hair and clothes, a reasonable shave, and (trust us on this one) recently brushed teeth.
- Practice the day before: It’s true: today’s devices and services are easy to use. That being said, no one wants to be that guy – the one that makes his meeting partners hang out in awkward silence, or the one who can’t figure out what button to press to see everyone. So set aside 20 to 30 minutes the day before to get to know your device’s audio and video settings and the service you’re using to connect, which will probably require a brief download and software installation. Take care of all that in advance! And if you’re going to present, familiarize yourself with the software’s special features, which have a tendency to vary widely between brands.
- Turn off the ringers: Your video conference is like an interactive movie, and just like in the theaters, you should turn off the ringers of your mobile devices prior to entering the show. If your phone does ring, it will prove to be quite distracting and will disrupt the flow of the conversation. If you’re expecting an emergency call, then it’s ok to leave the ringer on – just make sure the video conference attendees are aware of the situation.
- Pay attention: Ever notice how on Skype, the other person appears to be looking just past you? That’s because their eyes are drawn to either your image, or the thumbnail version of theirs. But looking into the camera is actually what conveys eye contact. And just as in person, eye contact and body language are crucial on a video conference. So pay attention to the speaker. Also, checking email or texting while the other person is talking? Perish the thought. Unless you’re taking notes (in which case inform the person, “I’m going to take some notes here while we talk”), refrain from multitasking – your meeting partners will appreciate it.
- Master the controls: If you’re in an area with background noise – your car for example, with buses, police cars or ambulances going by – use the mute feature while you’re not speaking, and give your meeting partners the benefit of clean audio. When your meeting is finished, avoid being the victim of a “hot mic” snafu: hang up, log out and close all conferencing applications. A job interviewee doesn’t really need to hear your immediate impressions post-interview…right?
By Kris Rangarajan ****See Full Story on www.telecomreseller.com