Friday, December 21, 2012

8 Guidelines To Make Your Video Conferencing Event Go Smoothly

By Paul Fraser

Summary: The best video conferencing equipment in the world can not make you and your business look great if your people do not use the set-up to their advantage. These 8 video conferencing tips will help you look good.

Even the best video conferencing equipment on the market doesn't answer all your communication problems. Some issues spring from the actions of the participants and have more to do with inexperience, bad manners and lack of consideration than with the quality of the mics, monitors and connections.

To make your long distance video communication events go smoothly, keep the following 8 things in mind:

1. Set up rules for participation in advance. Will everybody talk freely or will only 1 or 2 people do the majority of the talking? While you aren't sure the people on the other end will speak in an organised and orderly fashion, you must do absolutely everything possible to be sure you maintain a controlled approach on your end.

2. Do a practice run to be certain everybody understands how things work. While modern video conferencing equipment is intuitive and simple to use, letting individuals that are unfamiliar with its operation, practice a bit, is a good idea. Set up a talk with another branch office or a trusted colleague who will tell you honestly if you and you staff are coming across well.

3. Be aware of the cameras but not engrossed by them. Think of how experienced news reporters have interaction with the camera. They talk to the individual watching the broadcast, not to the camera. They do not obsessively think about being a centimeter or 2 off their marks, but they don't intentionally step outside of the frame either. They appear at ease at all times.

4. Eliminate outside disrutbances from the conference room. Modern microphones are much more sensitive than ever before so close the door to the room where the conversation is being held, silence pagers, watches and cell telephones and keep paper rustling to an absolute minimum. Always presume that extraneous sounds are being picked up even though they may not be.

5. Avoid wearing distracting or heavily decorated clothing. Cross-hatch patterns may react with a camera in bizarre and distraction ways and small decorations might not be visible. Stick to decorated clothing to avoid making distractions that may take attention away from your carefully planned words during your virtual meeting.

6. Have a clear end-goal. As you would in a face to face meeting, be clear about what's to be discussed. Otherwise, you'll never know when your discussion is complete. For video conference meetings, this suggests establishing a clear agenda and sharing it with all locations.

7. Be sure an appointed person is in charge at each location and over the whole meeting. One person must be able to call time when the meeting runs longs, and someone at each location should be accountable for informing other locations when there is a communication problem. If no one is appointed to be in charge of a location, it's possible that no-one will speak out if something goes pear-shaped, and time could be wasted.

8. Provide digital presentations and handouts before the event. People often prefer to view handouts and presentations in their own time so that they can prepare prior to a meeting, so provide digital presentations and email copies of handouts in advance , allowing those who want to study the chance to do it. That can also save a meeting if a presentation won't transmit at the proper time.

When you keep these eight commonsense tips in mind during your live video conferencing events, you can be certain that your words amount to true communication and do not fall on deaf ears. Making the optimum use of your video conferencing equipment means ensuring people understand how to work with it instead of against it.

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