Video conferencing is a very technical process: wires, codecs, computer chips, server racks. But did you know that there is an art to it as well? Video etiquette is a real thing and without it, you could turn a crystal-clear HD call into a common annoyance, much like today’s audio conferences. There are certain things one can do to make a video call as seamless, productive and aesthetically-pleasing as possible.
Golden Rule #1: Thou shalt keep it concise. Allow me to reference Occam’s Razor to illustrate this rule, “the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.” That means, keep your video calls short and sweet. In today’s busy world, everyone has schedules that are jam-packed and frivolous conversation is not only unproductive and time-consuming, it can be extremely frustrating. Getting your point across in a few minutes rather than an hour or two will ensure that your video participants are engaged in what you’re communicating, rather than reaching for their Blackberries to cruise some email while “this long-winded dude” gets to his point.
Golden Rule #2: Thou shalt be prepared for thy meeting. Video conferences can often seem so lifelike, it is as if you are in the same room as the other participants. As a result, you may feel the need to catch up and schmooze before the meeting begins. Unfortunately, this can really hurt productivity. Start on time, bring an agenda and stick to it. Save the schmoozing for later.
Golden Rule #3: Thou shalt use visuals to enhance participant interest. Visuals are a great way to keep a meeting interesting and fresh. Use the data-sharing feature on your HD video endpoint to share PowerPoint presentations, videos, charts, graphs, or a Word document for real-time collaboration.
Golden Rule #4: Thou shalt record thy video conference if thine colleague is absent. Unfortunately, quick projects and last-minute deadlines can pop up unexpectedly throughout one’s workday. For that reason, it is important to record your video call so late or absent colleagues can tune in later, at their convenience, to catch up on the information. Record and share with Lifesize to accomplish this task.
Golden Rule #5: Thou shalt optimize thy conference room for video communications. Though video conferencing can be done just about anywhere, a well-designed meeting space can help make the call more aesthetically pleasing for viewers. For example, bright colors tend to heighten engagement, so paint the walls of the conference room accordingly with blue, green or yellow. Lighting is also a very important factor on a video call. Make sure the room is well-lit and glare-free (close any windows to deflect outside light). Don’t forget to have a little fun, too. Personalize your office or conference room with small trinkets, paintings or photographs.
Golden Rule #6: Thou shalt minimize distractions. This may seem obvious, but it is important to make sure that everyone is focused on the meeting at hand and not other distractions around the room. Make sure that everyone’s cell phone is off, their laptops are muted and the room is quiet. If you are sharing your screen with the other participants, try to disable pop-up notifications and close other programs like IM and e-mail.
Golden Rule #7: Thou shalt wear garments that are pleasing to the eye. No, I am not talking about the latest high fashion trends. Leave that to the Kardashians. However, what you wear can definitely have an impact on a video call. For example, small, complicated patterns and stripes can be wildly distracting on a sharp, HD call. Choose neutral, solid colors instead. They are more flattering and can help participants focus on the content of the meeting, rather than your attire.
Golden Rule #8: Thou shalt keep meetings small. The more individuals on a call, the more confusing and distracting things can be. Fewer people mean higher productivity and increased participation. Of course, if you are having a company-wide meeting, invite everyone to join and record it for those that can't.
Golden Rule #9: Thou shalt provide feedback. One way to improve video calls, especially if your company is new to these types of meetings, is to fill out the survey after every meeting. Give a rating of 1-5 and provide comments to help us improve.
Golden Rule #10: Thou shalt use common courtesy. Because video collaboration is just like an in-person interaction, it is important to use the same courtesy you would use if you were in the same room. This includes paying attention to whomever is speaking, minimizing multitasking, and refraining from interrupting. Though this may seem obvious, good manners can take you far when building business relationships.
By following these golden rules of video conferencing, you can ensure that all will have a seamless, crystal clear, outstanding experience.