Video conferencing isn’t always easy especially when you’re at home. The kids climb on you, the dog barks and there’s background noise. Here are a few tips for successful video conferencing from home.
Choose the right environment
When talking through a complex issue or brainstorm ideas, video calls are more efficient than chat or email. They also help teammates to get to know each other in different time zones. When you’re on a call, give some thought to what’s around you such as the backdrop. Choose a plain wall and avoid windows that will provide too much backlight. If you have a laptop, put it somewhere steady. Try to avoid putting your laptop on your lap while you’re on a video call because the subtle wobbling of the screen is extremely distracting for the other participant.
Invite anyone, anytime
Video conferencing doesn’t have to be scheduled. If you’re in the middle of a too-long email conversation, you can instantly set up a meeting and invite people within or outside of your organisation to join. Hangouts Meet automatically creates international dial-in codes so people can call on the phone from anywhere and you can invite people via a Calendar event, by email, or by phone.
Can’t hear? Turn on captions
If you’re in a loud place and don’t have super-fancy headphones, you can use Meet’s live caption feature to display captions in real-time (just like closed captions on TV).
Presenting? Only share what you mean to share
Always be mindful when you’re going to share your screen with other meeting participants. You don’t want everyone on the call to be reading your email. To make sure you only share what you mean to share, present one window rather than your entire screen.
Want to read the room? Change the screen layout
If someone’s showing slides, but there’s a lively discussion happening in the office, you can switch your layout to focus on the people in the office rather than the presentation.
Everyone has a life outside of work. Depending on the culture of your workplace, it can be OK to show a little bit of the “real” life around you like letting your kid wave to the camera or eating your lunch if you’ve been on nonstop calls all day. Showing a little bit of your life can foster deeper connections with coworkers and even create empathy for whatever you’re dealing with outside of work.
With the recent outbreak of Covid-19, video conferencing has become an essential part of work. It has allowed businesses to continue running and at the same time enables collaboration among co-workers and clients.