Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Are you now doing videoconferencing?

Videoconference with Vinnie VrotneyMany people are trying to share helpful resources through their social networks, as we all move into social distancing, which is even restrictive for those who do normal work from home.  Many people are now doing video conference calls, perhaps for the first time.  I found this article, "8 Tips for Better Video Conference Calls," and originally posted it and some other helpful hints to Facebook. However, Facebook's algorithm removed it, because Facebook is trying to remove erroneous posts about COVID-19. So...I'm posting this here.

Now that video conference call will abound, besides the general tips in the article, I will also add:

  • Test all technology (including microphone, camera/video, and Wi-Fi) before the meeting. This means, that during the meeting, you will not have to ask "Can you hear me?"
  • Use a headset.  I know that your laptop or mobile device has a built in microphone, but the sound through a headset (or earbuds) will be better.
  • Log-in early to the meeting (generally 10-15 minutes), in case you need to work through any connection issues. This also gives you time to exchange pleasantries before the meeting begins.
  • Have an agenda. Read the agenda.  Use the agenda.
  • Mute your microphone if you are not talking on the call. Yes, do it.  Get used to muting and unmuting your microphone.
  • Mute your video, if you are eating or multitasking. Everyone else does not need to watch you. You can always turn your video back on, when you are talking/presenting.
  • Look into the camera, when you speak.  This will seem odd, since looking into the camera may mean not looking at the screen.  However, you want people to feel as if you are speaking to them.
  • Use the chat feature. Sometimes we want to chime in with a quick thought or maybe something that is (slightly) off-topic. Remember that there is a chat feature available. Most platforms will allow you to chat with a specific person, so you can have a sidebar conversation, if necessary.
  • Task someone to monitor the chat, so that anything that needs broader discussion is noted.
  • Decide on how you want people to "raise their hands" or jump into the conversation. Provide space - silence - so people can do so.
  • If some people are using audio only, introduce yourself when you speak. 
  • Be aware of your surrounding and remember that video or audio conferencing from some environments is a no-no.  Or as a friend said, "Don't do video conferences in a restroom. I've heard more flushings than I care to remember." (added 03/19/2020)

What else do we want people to do/know?  Leave a comment with your tips.

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