No matter which industry you work in, meetings can be a stressful occasion. Many employees might be tempted to run and hide when they’re told that their boss wants to have a “quick meeting” with them. Many of our flaws and weaknesses seem to jump out at office meetings, and our insecurities and competitiveness sometimes need to be suppressed. Meetings can also lull employees into a false sense of security, and our minds can wander when we think what is being discussed isn’t relevant to us, only to be put on the spot when we’re asked to give an opinion.
The nature of the office meeting is changing thanks to the advent of video conferencing technology, and collaborations that used to only be possible by actually summoning the relevant staff members to the same location can now be achieved with video conferencing at the tiniest fraction of the previous cost and effort. Video meetings are becoming increasingly important when it comes to ensuring that organizations goals are achieved and that projects operate efficiently, and as such, the video meeting has become as important a corporate communication tool as a phone call or email. It can be easy to view video meetings as a fairly informal exchange of ideas, and yet sometimes these meetings have significant consequences. Difficult decisions need to be made and implemented, and the entire future direction of an organization can be decided at a meeting. So how do you ensure that your video meetings are perfect, and allow items to be discussed with the seriousness and intensity that might be needed?
Make Sure Everyone Is Well Informed
Larger organizations generally follow a process for meetings, regardless of whether they’re face to face or via video conference. Small and medium sized businesses might be a little more spontaneous in their approach, but it’s important to remember that a video conference is still a formal meeting where it’s important to be prepared and speak up. Accordingly, it’s important to ensure that all parties receive a meeting agenda and copies of relevant content that might be required. Of course, corporate video conferencing such as the service that Blue Jeans Network provides allow for easy sharing of electronic documents, but sometimes an old school paper copy is nicer.
Manage Your Equipment
It can be advisable to have a designated video conferencing system operator who would ideally have been instructed by the service provider. They’re the go–to person if there are any issues during the video meeting, but can also manage the system during the meeting, patching relevant parties in and out as needed, which is certainly easier than a multitude of staff members trying to work out how to do it by randomly pushing buttons. Prior to installation, it’s vital to ensure that your bandwidth allowance will support the video meeting facilities without slowing any of your other telecommunications.
Check Your Surroundings
Not all video meetings are such grand affairs, and you might find yourself needing to teleconference privately with a few other team members, and while you don’t need to plan the video meeting as though you’re shooting a movie, there are a few things to remember. Try to find a private room for the meeting, and remember to adjust lighting levels – excessive sunlight can create a glare on the other parties’ screens. If background noise is a problem, simply wear a headset.
Video meetings can put you face to face, or screen to screen with senior management and key stakeholders who you might not usually encounter in your working day, so despite the fact that it reminds you of video calling your grandmother for her birthday, treat it as though it’s a formal face to face meeting. Talk to the screen as though the person was sitting in front of you, and looking into the camera will give the illusion of eye contact. The video conference microphone will pick up your normal speech, so you don’t need to raise or alter your voice in any way. Also remember that these microphones are quite sensitive, so your whispered statements might be clearly heard by the other participants.
Use the Medium to Your Advantage
Video meetings aren’t like staging an elaborate show, and yet you can easily use the medium to your advantage. For complex issues that you might be called on to discuss, you can easily leave your notes in an easy to read position just beyond the cameras reach. If you’re required to make a presentation at a video meeting, you can also write your key points down and place them in a part of the room from where you can see them, but that the other participants can’t. Meetings can often turn into debates, albeit polite ones and anything you can do to give your point of view an advantage is worth the effort.