Best Practices for Videoconferencing
Videoconferencing is fantastic - when it works.
The advantage of a better interpersonal experience often comes with a slight trade-off – a few minutes and some attention paid to ensuring that the technology works.
When you consider that videoconferencing has saved both parties the time and cost of travelling, there is usually still a significant advantage.
Prepare for the call
- Test the videoconferencing app privately by following all the instructions for joining the call. Do this before the meeting.
- If you need to download a videoconferencing app, do this well in advance of the call - not just before the meeting.
- Ensure that your camera and microphone work by finding the settings function and checking that the right camera and microphone are chosen. Don’t skip this step and assume that all the settings are correct, even if your face shows on your screen.
- Most videoconferencing apps have a microphone icon or settings function that shows whether your microphone is picking up sound.
- If you can't be sure that your microphone is picking up sound or that your camera is picking up vision, get in touch with us and we'll show you a hack to find out.
- If the quality of your computer microphone is poor, consider using a headset which locates a microphone closer to your mouth. Headsets virtually eliminate annoying echoes.
- Ensure that the camera is directed towards your face, so that you can look in the direction of the camera during the call. This will usually be the best way to maintain eye contact.
- If lighting is low in the room where you will take your video call, consider additional lighting by pointing a lamp in the direction of your face or turning on more lights.
- Avoid windows. Windows can sometimes negatively impact the quality of light by either washing you out (too bright) or providing too much backlight (too dark). Whenever possible, make sure you are sitting with your back to a wall rather than a window.
- Ensure that there is a ‘Plan B’ option for contacting each other whenever a call is made between two callers who have not yet met on that particular videoconferencing app.
- Swap phone numbers. Do the same when calling between familiar participants on a new device or network.
- Locate the ‘chat’ function within the videoconferencing program, so that you can communicate via chat if either participant has connection issues.
10 minutes before the call
- Ensure that no other videoconferencing apps are running in the background, as this can confuse your camera and microphone.
- Ensure that you have a decent Internet connection. Wifi in the home or office often provides a slower speed than a wired connection, and may become overloaded if other devices are connected to the network, so turn off the wifi reception on other devices if you think there is a risk of overloading the signal.
- Log on to the call 5-10 minutes before the meeting is due to start. This provides time for inevitable issues to be resolved.
- Check the settings again to ensure that your camera and microphone source are recognised by the videoconferencing app. Don’t assume that all the settings are correct, even if your face shows on your screen.
- Avoid distractions. Close other programs that could provide notifications during the call such as social media platforms, email and other videoconferencing software.
- Have your Plan B contact method ready if the call is between new participants for the first time or from a new device or on a new network.
- Locate the chat function again, so that you are ready to communicate via another method if vision or sound is affected on either side of the call.
During the call
If you are in a noisy environment, consider using the ‘mute’ button when you are not speaking. This becomes especially important on multi-party calls.
If you need help making the most of videocalls in your organisation through better communication, contact us today.