People around the world are discovering the power of video conferencing and webcasting as an alternative to meeting in person. There are so many advantages: zero travel time, easy meeting recordings, the ability to jump into a meeting with anyone, anywhere, at literally a moment’s notice, and—of course—it’s a safe way to connect during the COVID-19 outbreak.
At the same time, many business owners are wondering, “Are there hidden costs to doing this? Am I running any risk by having meetings on video? Should I postpone the high-stakes ones until I can meet in person?”
Webcasting vs. In-Person Lectures
Many people feel unsure about replacing a large meeting or lecture with a webcast. The concerns are reasonable: it’s a real nightmare when a meeting with 100+ attendees suffers from technological difficulties.
That’s why having high-performance software is crucial. If you’re connecting with a group on video, you need to know what to expect. Specifically, considering the powerful tools that exist today, you should expect total reliability, a consistent video stream, and high audio quality. With good software, you can take those things for granted. That’s why universities and schools are judicious when choosing a platform for educational webcasts.
Trust Building on Video
Researchers have found that people come to trust each other more quickly via Video, compared to audio-only. On the other hand, it does take longer compared to meeting in person.
This is understandable—you’re not really there, in the room, with the person; in reality, you’re looking at a screen. However, that’s not a reason to stall meetings until a nebulous future time. Instead, you can use proven techniques to give yourself an edge while forging trust via Video.
- Making a point of talking about personal, non-work-related topics
- Avoiding multitasking
- Respecting the other person’s privacy by meeting without background noise and muting when necessary
- Always showing up to video meetings on time
Distinguish yourself as a reliable, trustworthy person by adopting these simple habits, even if you’re limited to virtual meetings.
The Meeting Must Go On
Come what may, virtual meetings are a reliable and effective substitute for meetings that can’t happen in an office or over lunch. When people are spread across the globe, homesick, or otherwise separated, video meetings are much more efficient than audio calls alone for communication and collaboration. That’s thanks to the full range of expression you can apply on video.
By thinking your in-person event, conference or trade show strategy, you can provide the content your attendees want to hear, but in a way that’s safe for everyone involved. A webcast allows you to stream video to thousands of attendees with global scalability. You might even see attendance increase in comparison to an in-person event thanks to removed barriers.
Rely on the Best Tools
It’s undeniable: new challenges do surface when you replace in-person meetings with virtual ones. However, if you have reliable technology, many of those challenges disappear and become non-issues.
As business owners embrace virtual events as a cost-effective method to achieve a myriad of goals, including webinars, training, and conferences, it’s important to ensure that effective communication isn’t being traded for bottom-line savings. While it’s unlikely that meeting virtually will completely replace the need for entrepreneurs to meet in person, its ease of adoption and convenience can serve to enhance your business’s productivity.
When you’re in a virtual meeting with a colleague, hiring manager, or client through a conferencing platform like using Jamisi Video Conferencing solution, that virtual environment becomes part of your personal brand. If the virtual meetings you host are plagued by technical issues, unprofessional audio, and distractions, your personal brand will feel rough and chaotic. On the other hand, if you run virtual meetings without any hiccups, your personal brand will feel polished and professional.
As someone who regularly hosts client meetings and webinars via web conference and online platforms, I wanted to share some practical tips on how you can create a memorable and professional personal brand when you’re “meeting” someone virtually.
Here are some tips;
Create A Professional Remote Office
1. Work from a quiet, carpeted room
If your room is empty and uncarpeted, it can result in hollow, echoey audio distracting to others. Carpeted rooms with soft furnishings tend to create the best audio during web conferences. If the room you’re calling from doesn’t have carpet, even putting a rug on the floor and some floor pillows in the room can reduce reverberation and create a warmer sound.
2. Use neutral background
While professional-looking plants, bookcases, or picture frames in your background aren’t necessarily a problem, the safest approach is to simply have a neutral-coloured wall in the background. Shades of grey or white can work especially well. Anything distracting in the background will distract from the content of what you’re saying.
3. Create good lighting
Dimly lit rooms feel unprofessional and dated. Ensure your desk has a strong but soft light that can illuminate your face during your video conference. I recommend having two LED desk lamps with adjustable intensity and hue on either side of your webcam directed toward your face so you can tweak it according to daylight conditions and create uniform lighting on your face. One large lamp can also work.
4. Use laptop, not phone
Believe it or not, many people opt to do conference calls via their smartphones because the apps tend to be very convenient to use. Not a good idea. Use your laptop or desktop computer to make the call, which allows you to easily take notes and have a stable image, which is nearly impossible if you’re holding your phone or trying to balance it on your desk
Ensure Technical Setup Is Sound
1. Test the technology
While you can’t completely avoid technical issues from occurring, you can reduce the likelihood of technical surprises by taking the time to test your web conferencing application well in advance of your virtual meeting or interview. Upon first use, many programs like Microsoft Teams, Whereby, or Zoom need you to explicitly grant screen sharing, audio access, and webcam permissions to the programs that involve restarting the program and/or your system. You’ll want to do in advance.
2. Raise your webcam to eye-level
People tend to put their laptops on their desks during virtual meetings, but this often results in webcams being awkwardly positioned with the camera is tilted up. We’ve all been on calls where you’re looking up the nose of the person on the other end, which can be rather off-putting (and even menacing). Ensure your webcam is at eye level so your image will look more natural, as if you were both sitting across from each other at the same table. The easiest way to do this with a laptop is to simply put it on top of a box.
3. Use a good microphone
I use a MacBook, and the built-in microphone is pretty good for everyday use, but as someone who regularly records interviews with people for my podcast, I’ve found that in the vast majority of cases, external microphones sound better than built-in computer microphones. If you don’t want to invest into an external desk mic, even just switching to the earphones that comes with your phone will create a more intimate, conversational sound profile.
Organizing effective virtual group meetings is critically important for every company seeking to leverage remote teams. Be sure to use the tips above to your benefit to host virtual meetings that are as effective as possible.