Video conferencing has quickly become the primary mode of communication used in our day to day lives.

With the uptick in usage being directly linked to current world events, it is even more so important that we make business meetings using video as engaging and lively as what we are used to when we meet in-person. The best method of keeping people interested in what you are talking about is making sure that they not only hear what you are saying, but also feel connected to it. In fact, one of the main advantages to holding your meetings virtually, is the potential to prevent your audience from tuning out. Hosting an engaging and effective virtual meeting, however, all starts with what is done before the meeting is called.

In order for employees to use popular teleconferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams, they need proper training on how to actually operate the software. Although more people are using these online tools than ever before, many are not technologically advanced causing some problems.

In our experience, these problems can usually be summarized under employees not fully understanding how to efficiently and effectively utilize the platform. Luckily, most video conferencing platforms provide online tutorials on their website and social media that can be easily shared with your team. Alternatively, you can host hands-on mock meetings to give inexperienced members of your team time to learn how to use at least the basic features correctly.

The basic features each team member should be comfortable with include: the mute button, directing which participants can speak, turning on and off video, the screen layout options, screen sharing, and private and public chat.

By investing in your team’s technical skills and thus making them feel comfortable with virtual meeting technology, you allow them to focus less on whether or not everyone can hear them and more on their presentation skills and the actual meeting taking place.

One of the challenges of working from home is ensuring that you maintain the same level of professionalism as you did while working in office and this is an area of hosting online meetings that many people are still concerned about.   We are all trying to adjust to the new normal and with everyone working from home we have to make concessions to the fact that each of us has a different situation at home. As such, don’t be too unyielding about how and from where the video conference will take place and also put out some guidance for them to consider.

One way you can instantly boost your home environment’s appeal is by carefully selecting what will be in your background, also known as the backdrop, during the video. Backdrops make a big difference – even a blank wall is better than seeing someone’s entire living room or worse behind them. Many of the video conferencing platforms offer virtual backgrounds, which present a viable solution over another in home alternative.

Many people are also concerned about how they look on camera. To create a picture perfect setting try putting a lamp or other light source in front of you (instead of behind) to illuminate your face while sitting with a wall close behind you. Don’t focus too much on being photogenic, however, as it would be better to just show your humanity -, let’s face it, this is not the time to be absolutely perfect.

We also encourage everyone to practice video meeting presentation skills by recording yourself presenting on video, most of the platforms offer a recording feature. Use the recording to see what you may want to remedy before the actual meeting takes place.

We recommend that you follow usual meeting protocols to best undertake virtual meetings. just because your meeting is online doesn’t mean that you should overlook traditional meeting best practices like scheduling and reminder messaging, supplying relevant documents and an agenda beforehand, handling administrative issues such as questions and time limitations early on. The less traditional online meeting issues include things like who is muted, highlighted, and can share their screens.

Work toward keeping your video meetings lively and think of opportunities to engage attendees. This will lead to success and positive feedback. The more active participation you can include, the more you can keep others from tuning out.

The video conferencing platforms offer many extra features to make video meetings more dynamic and interactive, including polling (for when you want to quickly gauge views on an issue), breakout rooms (for when you want a video meeting to break into subgroups) and emoji reactions.  Workto familiarize yourself with these and incorporate them when it makes sense.

Here are a few video presentation skills to train your team on:

  • Looking into the camera when talking.
  • Smiling when talking—and listening—to portray a friendly, engaging image.
  • Using gestures when appropriate, making sure the people on video can actually see them.
  • Moving through presentations quickly, aiming to spend no more than two minutes on each slide.

As video conferencing takes on a larger role in the business world, you will want to make sure you and your team become pros at it.

The Czar Beer team is dedicated to providing timely, accurate information on all aspects of COVID-10 that affect our clients. However, as this is all developing quickly we are here to offer support in any way we can. You can email us at info@czarbeer.com or call 212 397 2970 with any questions you may have.