Due to recent advances in mobile technology and the quickly evolving power of e-commerce, very few companies conduct important business meetings solely within the walls of their office buildings. In fact, due to the opportunities intrinsic to a remote workforce, many businesses are opting to conduct day-to-day operations and work in a virtual setting. However, despite the rising role that technology and the internet play in business, it is undeniable that meaningful human interaction is still a key component of growth and success in any company.
Video conferencing software fuses human interaction with technological convenience by allowing companies to connect virtually without sacrificing the significance of meeting face-to-face. If you are currently using video conferencing, or have been considering implementing video conferencing software, to best facilitate virtual business meetings or hold presentations for key business partners, then you may have some reservations about forgoing in-person meetings. However, it is very possible to create a personal, professional atmosphere in a video conference, complete with meaningful formalities and face-to-face interactions.
When you hold business video conferences that employ the following best practices, you ensure your video calls are personal, professional, and impactful so you can get the very best value from your virtual meetings.
1. Adhere to proper video call etiquette, and require your attendees to do the same.
To make your video conferences professional and productive, it is important that you establish proper etiquette guidelines that both you and all your attendees understand and follow during a video meeting. Here are the important elements of etiquette you should prepare for and practice before and during your video conferences:
- Check all audio and video feeds prior to conducting a meeting to make sure that everything is working properly. This will ensure that you experience limited issues being heard and seen during your meeting.
- Use eye contact that is appropriate to the cultural practices of your audience.
- Keep things simple, and only display information and tools that presenters or attendees will need during your video conference.
- Avoid joining a conference from a noisy location that will distract focus from the important items being discussed during the video conference.
2. Create a video call environment that is welcoming, but free of unnecessary distractions.
Limiting the distractions during a video conference is key to creating a professional meeting experience. Plan to host your video call in a room that looks professional and organized, and does not have distracting wall art or fixtures. If your conference room has windows, be sure to draw the shades so you can minimize natural lighting and outside distractions.
3. Leverage the power of the mute button.
Muting yourself during a video conference, or muting your attendees during a presentation is an important way to convey respect to everyone in attendance for a video conference. Background noises or feedback can easily diminish attendee attention and detract from the content of the meeting, so don’t feel as if you’re being rude by using mute. When the meeting opens up to a discussion portion, you can unmute yourself or your audience so everyone can have the opportunity to be heard at the appropriate time.
4. Maintain the same professional courtesies you’d use in an in-person business meeting.
Meeting virtually through a video conference can be a very personal and immersive experience that simulates in-person interaction. For this reason, it is important that you behave as if you’re conducting a meeting in-person, and try to maintain the same type of interaction you would experience face-to-face. Here are some tips to help humanize your video conferences:
- Greet the audience, and use the same mannerisms and formalities you’d use when meeting in-person.
- Keep appropriate eye contact with the camera.
- Avoid turning your back to the camera, or looking down and away too often.
- If you need to leave the meeting, obtain acknowledgment or permission from attendees before leaving.
5. Always shut down or close any programs or apps unnecessary to the video conference.
Whether you’re hosting a video conference or attending one as a guest, you should close any programs not pertinent to the meeting beforehand. Unnecessary information visible on your screen can be distracting, but it can also present data integrity risks if attendees can see sensitive company information. You should also deactivate or silence any notifications that could pop up and distract you or your attendees.
Additionally, try to avoid multi-tasking activities during a video conference. While it may seem like you are being more productive, it will ultimately make it more difficult for you to fully interact and absorb all the material presented and discussed during the video conference.
6. Take handwritten notes.
Keep a pen and a pad of paper handy whenever you’re involved in a video conference. While it may be tempting to try and simply remember the content of the meeting or type up notes in an on-screen program, neither method has the same retention results as taking handwritten notes.
Video conferencing is quickly gaining popularity as the preferred way for companies to connect employees, business, partners, and clients. To make sure that all your virtual meetings are professional and meaningful, it is important to comply with business video conference best practices. You can also learn more about the evolution and applications of video conferencing with our free guide, Video Conferencing Trends of 2016.