Video conferencing and unified communication solutions are increasingly growing in popularity for teams that are not only distributed across the country, but across the world too. Video calling has made it easier to keep in contact with remote workers and freelancers, while appearing as if all parties are in the same room. Whether you are in your home or in the office, there are a few points to remember when making a video call with your colleagues and here are a few we think are some of the most important to bear in mind.
Make sure you're prepared, or prepared to avoid distractions
Try and minimise any distractions in the room where you are making your video call. This might be easier if you're in the office as you might be able to lock yourself into a meeting room. If you're at home, just make sure anyone at home at the same time as you know that you're on a conference call. Don't forget to put your mobile phone on silent if necessary and if you've been watching morning cartoons in your room, try and make sure that the TV isn't in view of the camera, or at least turn the sound down!
Present the right appearance
It is also important to make sure that the room in which you're conducting the video conference has adequate lighting. If the other parties on the call can't see you, then you may as well be having a phone call. It's also a good tip to try and wear solid, neutral or muted coloured clothes if possible. Clothes with stripes, dots or containing plaid can sometimes produce distracting effects on the screen so be aware of this. Also, while it might be tempting to dress your top half smartly and your bottom half casually, this is only a good idea if there's absolutely no chance that you'll have to stand up during the conference call. After all, no one wants to see your boxer shorts! In terms of clothing, it's generally a good idea to wear what you would usually wear to work.
Aim to communicate effectively via video
This may seem like an obvious point, but sometimes it's the obvious ones that are forgotten. Before your video call ensure that you have done an audio and microphone check. This can also be carried out at the start of the call too, just check with everyone on the call that they can hear you. This is good practice not just for video conferences, but for audio conference calls too. Try to speak at a normal volume and in a normal register. There shouldn't be any need for you to shout. With that in mind, it's good to try and be as natural as possible on the video call. That also means that you should try and avoid walking whilst talking too. You may want to avoid doing this anyway if you've not followed our advice about being too casual below waist height! If you really, really, need to stretch your legs, try and limit the walk to a small area and try to keep a slow pace.
Keep video conferencing etiquette in mind
There aren't huge differences between taking part in a video conference and holding a face to face meeting. In the same way that there is a certain level of etiquette associated with face to face meetings, so too are there with video conferences. For example, it can be good practice to state your name, and even location, at the beginning of the video call. If there are a few people in conference, it can be helpful to direct any queries to specific individuals. Don't forget to look into the camera, so try and avoid checking emails or perusing the web if you can! If you're the conference organiser, it can also be helpful to send an agenda to everyone attending the video conference, just so everyone knows what to expect.
It's also good to keep time zones in mind when arranging conferences with remote colleagues. What might be a great time for you, might be halfway through dinner time for them!
If you're interested in video calls and video conferencing, check out our Cloud PBX Enterprise Pro VoIP features for the latest in unified communications.