If you’re using video conferencing in your business, you’re already putting your company ahead of the curve. Using these services is becoming the norm in industries all over the country, as they save time, increase participation, and help avoid the dread of sitting in a stuffy conference room for hours on end.
Video conferencing services of all kinds can be found on the web; each with its own unique tools and interface. The one thing each of these services shares is their ability to effectively unite teams and increase communication. If you’re planning a video conferencing call, here are five tips to help make it more productive.
1. Plan Your Call
You can’t have an effective meeting of any kind without some pre-meeting planning. Jumping into a meeting or conference call as the host without any plan whatsoever usually ends up derailing the call. Side conversations sprout up, the meeting has no real direction, and you’ve just wasted an hour of everyone’s time. Don’t be that person.
Planning a call is simple. You know you’ll be on video, so ensure you’ll be in the right environment. Are you calling in from home, the office, or your summer vacation home? Ensure you’re in a quiet room and dress somewhat appropriately. It’s understandable if you’re on vacation that you might not be able to dress in a suit and tie, but if you’re at home, please don’t call in wearing nothing but your undies.
Ensure that both your equipment and your software are working ahead of time. This might mean setting up a half-hour before the call time to ensure everything’s working. Is your camera working right? Your mic? How about your video conferencing software? This way, you’ll know everything works before the call takes place.
2. Keep The Guest List Minimal
Minimize. Your. Guest. List. This is one of the best tips for having a productive video conference call or any other conference call, for that matter. The more people you invite to the call, the more of a chance there is for the call to become derailed. Remember to only invite those people within your organization that have a direct stake in what’s being discussed.
Other members of the organization can easily be updated on any decisions or changes made during the call via email or in-person later on. If you’re having a meeting with a new client, focus on the people that will directly interact with that client during the business/client relationship.
Set your guest list a few days ahead of time, then review it a day or two before the call. Ask your self if Jacob from accounting really needs to be in the call, or if Mary the sales rep has anything truly valuable to add to this week’s conversation.
3. Minimize Distractions
Distractions include background noise like children, pets, outside noises, TVs or electronics, or even the chatter in the office. It’s important to find a quiet space to host your video call to ensure you’re not derailing everyone by sitting next to a barking dog or next to the window, where just outside, your neighbor is mowing the lawn.
You’ll also want to minimize side-conversations or off-topic conversations that develop. This is almost inevitable when people start to get bored, which is why it’s so important to limit the amount of time that your conference calls take up.
If you notice side-conversations starting to develop, quickly address them and get everyone back on track with your agenda (which you should always have).
4. Keep Your Meetings Short and Sweet
There’s no one that actually wants to sit in a three-hour meeting, right? Keeping your meetings short can actually increase productivity and keep everyone awake and alert. Have you ever been in a long meeting where you thought you were going to fall asleep? It’s likely you didn’t remember much from that meeting’s topics.
Most experts suggest that meetings stay within the 30-45-minute range, so as to maximize everyone’s attention span. The best way to achieve this time limit is to “trim the fat” off of your agenda. Double-check the agenda and ask if certain topics truly need to be discussed at all. You can also set specific time limits for topics during the meeting and watch the clock as you go.
5. Use The Right Service
There’s nothing more detrimental to a meeting (other than distractions) than a poor video conferencing service. If your service is constantly crashing, drops in video or audio quality, or costs your business an arm and a leg each month, it’s time to move on. There are plenty of video conferencing services available today that offer high-quality video/audio for a price that won’t leave your business scrambling for cash.
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