by Paul Rudo on 04/07/12 at 4:06 pm
Video conferencing technology has changed the way we do business. It’s saved companies thousands of dollars in travel, and it’s opened up new and exciting ways to reach out to potential customers.
Although it may seem easier to treat video conferencing like any other meeting or interaction, it’s a mistake to do so. Video conferencing is its own unique medium. If you want to communicate your message clearly and make the right impression, there are some specific priorities you need to keep in mind:
1. Test the tech ahead of time. When you fire up the webcam for that company-wide video presentation you’re about to make, you don’t want it to be the first time. You need to make sure that the technology is functioning properly, and that you’re completely familiar and comfortable with how to make it work. Bring in your IT specialist to help configure any necessary settings and troubleshoot any obvious issues.
2. Make sure you have the right tools. Today’s video conferencing experiences are much more than individuals looking at one another on a computer screen. You can bring in multimedia presentations, share documents, share your screen, and more with the right tools. If your video conferencing experience needs one or more of these types of functions, make sure to choose a platform that supports them.
3. Understand the camera’s Point of View. Whether you’re using a camera set up in a conference room or whether you’re using the built-in webcam on your PC makes a difference. Identify the angle at which the camera will be capturing you. Practice speaking to the camera, rather than to the computer screen, and you’ll have greater impact on your listeners.
4. Coordinate your background effectively. Bobble-head figures or family pictures are wonderful things to have on your desk or your bookshelves, but you don’t want them featured prominently in your video conference calls. Clear the background of any visual noise that might distract the viewer from what you’re saying.
5. Think about nonverbal communication ahead of time. Body language represents a significant portion of our communication. With video conferencing, you’re usually limited to the upper half of your body. Make sure you’re conscious of nonverbal gestures, and make sure that the important ones – the ones that help you emphasize a message or get a point across – are visible from the camera.
6. Establish clear conference call procedures. If you’re giving a pitch to a prospective client or chatting with a partner, this isn’t as important. However, if you’re having a video conference call with four or more people, it should be a priority. Control the noise and move from one person to the next efficiently.
7. Establish and distribute a clear agenda. You’d do this for any other meeting; there’s no reason you shouldn’t do it for a conference call. Some video conferencing tools will allow you to display an agenda on the screen, and highlight each item as you move from one to the next. Sending out the agenda ahead of time via email works also.
8. Remind video conference participants that they can be seen and heard. Here again, this isn’t necessary or appropriate for a sales call, but it can be helpful on larger presentations. Ask participants to mute their microphones when they’re not speaking, for example.
9. Wait for the transmission delay. After you speak on a video conference call, there’s about a half-second to 2 second delay. Accordingly, before you begin to speak, wait a little longer than you would during a normal conversation.
Video conferencing, when done correctly, is a powerful and effective tool for your company. Put the technology to work for you, and implement these tips to make those calls as clear and efficient as possible. What other video conferencing tips do you have?
Author bio: Katie Reynolds is the Marketing Manager of Webinars and Public Relations at Vistage International, a membership organization that helps CEOs build successful companies through business coaching groups, executive coaching and executive development opportunities.