New technologies facilitate our working tasks and life. Videoconferencing tools are not the exception. They are revolutionizing the business world since they allow meetings and presentations from miles away without causing any kind of problem.
Now, most of us are working remotely and these tools became essential to perform our tasks efficiently. So, perfecting your abilities to manage your teams during a remote presentation and getting some tips on video conferencing tools, will make you a better professional... and we will show you exactly what to do.
But, what is videoconferencing? Videoconferencing is an interactive system that allows users to have virtual conversations through video, sound and text in real-time over the internet. These systems are good to carry out training sessions, work meetings, support, product demonstrations, product marketing, training, customer service, etc.
Advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing
Video conferencing has many advantages and these are some of the most important that you should consider:
- You will reduce your transfer costs.
- You will use time to your advantage since you’ll avoid the chaos of the city.
- You will focus your attention on problems, instead of on secondary issues.
- You will have the opportunity to invite more people who bring something valuable to the conversation, such as other members of your team or specialists who otherwise could not attend.
However, there are disadvantages too.
- You may need to train yourself or and your clients on the use of videoconferencing platforms.
- If you don't have adequate internet speed, you’ll have connectivity problems.
- You must have a budget for hiring the videoconferencing tool (in case you choose a paid option).
Best practices for video conferencing
For making a good video conference, it is not enough to turn on the camera. There is an important preparation for you to gain credibility and confidence. So, we created a list with simple and valuable tips to optimize your video meetings:
1. Test the camera before your guests enter
Although this action seems obvious, it is essential to remember it. A camera that doesn't work can simply prevent your meeting from happening and there is an impression of improvisation starting a meeting with problems that indicate a lack of preparation.
- Check the lighting so that your image is not shady.
- Test your microphone.
- Choose a place with low noise.
- Organize your background scenery.
Be careful with possible objects that may appear in the background. If you are in your normal workplace, be careful not to show personal notes or information about the company itself. If you are at home, it is worth reinforcing the people you live with, not interrupting you or even walk behind the camera.
2. Keep a good image
Taking care of your appearance is important, regardless of whether you are at home or not. Therefore, in addition to checking the environment, it is also worth checking your image.
- Join the video conference at least 10 minutes before the start of the meeting. You must make sure that your accessories are working correctly and download the applications that the video call requires.
- Remind everyone to mute their microphone while they’re not speaking, as video conferencing equipment transmits and raises both the volume of voice and noise in the environment.
- If there is no video option, you can ask them to say their names when speaking so you can recognize them. Especially when there are more than 5 people.
- Avoid monologues. Take breaks and ask questions of participants periodically to get their comments and concerns. This will let you know that they’re online and following the conversation.
- Use visual aids such as graphics and infographics to help you understand what you need to convey.
- Speak slowly and wait a bit to hear the responses of others. In many cases, there are delays and the message does not arrive at the same time.
- Send in advance an agenda with the topics to discuss.
- While you’re speaking, try to see through the lens of the camera because they are your guest’s eyes.
- Creating rapport is essential for breaking the ice in video conferencing. Rapport is a technique to create a certain connection of empathy with another person. Translating into common vocabulary, it is a technique to “break the ice”, mainly in the first contact. You can ask about the weather, mention an object from the other person's room in the meeting (like praising a painting behind, for example), or show something typical of your space, such as the team that works with you.
- Always have a back up plan. If your video conferencing tool doesn't work, always have an alternative, and of course, make yourself available to help your guests with the installation of the video conferencing tool.
- It is critical to maintain fluid communication.
There are many other practical tips for carrying out video conferences and the world is increasingly moving towards a global collaboration, which requires us to use virtual communication tools daily to meet, coordinate efforts, serve clients, and work as a team with people located anywhere in the world. This is why videoconferencing became one of the fundamental tools for corporate interactions.
Best video conferencing tools
Skype is one of the reference services when it comes to offering group calls, and offers the possibility of up to 10 people speaking at the same time in the free version. In addition, the service has high standards in terms of call quality, both in video and audio calls. If the call is audio-only, the number of people who can use it simultaneously rises to 25.
It is multiplatform, with a version for PC and mobile app. It also has a wide range of options, such as the ability to share your screen, blur the background with its portrait mode, or perform real-time translations in different languages.
Zoom is a technological unicorn, one of those almost magical companies that manage to accumulate great value and large investments. Many people love Zoom because it allows video calls of up to 100 participants in its free mode, although without paying, it limits you to 40 minutes.
All you need to do is register for making a call. Then, you will join through its website or app for Android and iOS and that's it. Additionally, it allows screen sharing and joining from a phone line in voice version, desktop and app sharing, or call recording.
3. Google Meet
Since many people have a Gmail account, using Google Meet (Formerly Hangouts) is easy. You can use it in Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari from the website or through its app, either for iOS or Android.
How does it work? Start by clicking "OK" when it asks for access to the camera and microphone. Then, within your contact list, click on the icon of those you want to add. Once your video conference starts, you can click on the "Add People" option if you want a multi-party conversation.
Jitsi is a software that you can use completely free since it is open source. It promises a premium experience, even if you don't have registrations to get started (and if you're a developer, you can help improve it whenever you want).
How does Jitsi work? Open your video conferencing home site, where you only have to enter a topic for your conversation. You can integrate your calendar and you have a window to access your history. Once you agree to the use of the camera and microphone, add your contact emails. They will enter the window by simply clicking on the corresponding link. By the way, you can also enter from its application for your Android smartphone or iPhone.
Thousands of users use ooVoo for its ease of navigation. It works through an app, available on Android and iOS, as well as a desktop program on Windows and Mac. It allows you to create a live session with up to 8 people, which gives it great dynamism, even when it is a free app.
How does it work? Simply download the app and access it through a password. Once you are inside, you can connect with the profiles that are already in the program, as well as send invitations for those who still need to register. Add the contacts you need from its menu, where you can see their images simultaneously.
Microsoft Teams replaces Skype for Business service. With it, you can invite all the members of your team to a video call no matter where they are. This service offers online meetings, live events, audio conferencing and meeting devices.
Their goal is to automate the meeting lifecycle to save time, focus, and have the tools to increase your productivity. How do Microsoft Teams' work? Go to your chat list and click "New chat message" to start a new chat. Write the name of the members of your team and click on "Video Call" or "Audio Call" to start.
You’re not between a rock and a hard place – you have choices!
Making video conferences is easy. In addition, you have multiple choices for the comfort of your team and you can use those tools on your desktop or smartphone. So, it's not a big deal to take advantage of this technology for increasing productivity and keep in contact with your team.
At PUNCHY, we know the best strategies to increase your productivity not only for making video conferences. We deliver strategies customized for you. Contact us and start your projects with the right foot!