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Become an Expert at Video Conferencing

Posted by Chessie Skates on Sep 10, 2012 12:41:00 PM

Video conferencing is becoming necessary for everyone from telemedicine patients in remote locations, to school children in low-enrollment classes. Video conferencing can seem daunting for many people for those who have never been on a video chat, it can seem scary, confusing and even more of a hassle than traveling to a face-to-face meeting. For those who seldom attend video conferences, it can be just as confusing (“I swear this worked last time!”). For someone hosting a video conference, those feelings can be even more extreme. But not to fear, here are a few tips to help you feel confident while hosting your own video conference.

A great and easy way to put yourself and everyone else at ease is to send out invitations on time or even early. Whether the video call is an alternative to traveling to a meeting for expense reasons, your business is trying to be more productive, or if you are implementing telepresence to become more “green”, being able to plan ahead for the meeting time, equipment preparation, and material gathering is essential. Included in the invitation should be the date, time, the IP address and audio number, and any preparatory reading or reference information attendees will need. This part is not very different than scheduling a face-to-face meeting, so it should be familiar to everyone. If you are sending invites to potential first time video users, offer any tips or suggestions you can. First time video conference attendees will most likely appreciate any extra information they can get, including what causes feedback and the type of webcam or microphone to use.

Another way to make sure you are not scrambling at the last minute is to join the video conference early. If you are hosting the conference, we suggest arriving about 20 minutes early to ensure you are the first to arrive to ensure your audience isn’t waiting for you. Think of this as showing up for an interview. Punctuality is an important part of making a good first impression, especially if you or your attendees are out of their element.

As with any meeting, make sure all of your material is in order whether this is a PowerPoint, Keynote, whiteboard, or what you’re going to say. Being prepared always makes everything easier. If you have an opportunity, practice setting up the video chat and go through your end of the meeting. Having a dress rehearsal under your belt can make the actual meeting feel much smoother.

One tip that many suggest is planting a few audience members. These people are sitting in your meeting simply to help you. They will be a part of the meeting and will listen in, but the key to this strategy is to have them open up the question and answer portion of the meeting. Having someone ask a few questions can break the ice and make your attendees feel comfortable asking their own questions. Perhaps these planted audience members will ask a question someone else may be too afraid to ask.

After the meeting has transpired, you may be able to review a copy of the video conference (you will need a recording and streaming solution for this.) This is extremely valuable and something that is typically not available in face-to-face meetings. You can use the recorded meeting’s playback in other meetings, send to people who were unable to attend, or even review and learn from any mistakes made.

Preparing as much as you can ahead of time and knowing your audience are the keys to a great video conference. The more at ease you feel, the more relaxed the audience will be.

Learn more about how to prepare for a video conference here.

Topics: Telehealth


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