It’s no secret that a big chunk of the global economy has been reeling from the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic. But the numbers in video conferencing, as statistics indicate, are surging: 87 percent more people are choosing to video chat today compared to just two years ago.
The high number of video conferencing users is hardly surprising. Tens of millions of workers have, after all, been forced to work from home. They, and countless others, are using video calls to not only conduct business but to also stay in touch with friends and loved ones.
We have previously examined ways to make your virtual meeting engaging and inclusive. The reality, however, is that a bad video call can be worse than a bad in-person meeting. It succeeds in wasting your team’s – or worse, your clients’ time, and leaves them frustrated, stressed, and with low morale.
All this is avoidable.
And when 77 percent of remote employees claim they are more productive when working from home, you had better pay attention. So, how do you ensure that your virtual meetings are not affected by poor video conferences?
Here are a few common mistakes you might be making when conducting your video calls – and how to fix them:
Not being prepared
A lot of people tend to assume that the technology they’ll be using will be pretty much straightforward. Don’t be one of them. Failing to do a road-test before your video conference will make you appear unprofessional when you start fumbling through your video call interface with a live audience looking on.
Instead, build your confidence by recording a few practice sessions so you familiarize yourself with the tech, and even adjust your video calling approach. Ensure you have steady and stable internet bandwidth beforehand, and that downloads, backups, and unnecessary programs are not running. Then, join the call a little earlier to assist the participants who need help with the mechanics of video conferencing before their input is requested.
Ignoring your environment
Clutter and background noise can negatively impact the quality of your video call. Your lighting, audio, camera placement, and background are, therefore, some of the things you need to consider if you want your video chat to sound and look as good as possible.
So, ensure you light yourself – or at the very least, face a window that generates natural light. Then, try going for an external microphone for better audio quality. Naturally, you’ll want to set up for your call in an area without a lot of echoes or too much ambient noise. Finally, clean and neat background isn’t just for impressing people with your living space – it does a great job of removing potential distractions!
Appearing nervous and under-focused
You might be thinking that a video conference call can’t be all that different from a phone call. You’ll be able to multitask – go through your emails, finish typing that report, even clean your fingernails. Wrong. These are luxuries you cannot afford while on a video call. Why?
People know right away when you’re not looking at the camera. And since the camera on most computers is above the screen, you have to train yourself to look at it when talking, not the screen. You also need to remain calm and composed while delivering your presentation. After all, too many movements and gestures on camera can be distracting, annoying, or even paint you as nervous and less confident.
Requiring clients to download extra software
Time is a precious commodity. The last thing your clients want is to waste it downloading some tools to join your call. It would be great to remember, too, that most large organizations don’t grant their employees local admin rights to allow them to install software on work devices.
Therefore, make sure your video conferencing tool does not require any downloads before the guest can join the meeting. Gumzo is one such tool – all a guest requires is access to a web browser and a phone number for verification purposes, and a call can happen. At the very least, inform your guests beforehand if downloads are necessary.
Ultimately, make sure to incorporate security measures for whatever video call tool you end up using. Don’t share meeting links on social media, require guests to join video calls with passwords, review the attendees who join your calls, and make sure to use the lock function to keep gatecrashers out.