Face-to-face meetings can be the most effective way to get your point across, but the corporate world has to move with the times. Overcoming growing distance, cost and time issues, businesses now demand solutions for video conferencing. As a result, venues, speakers, event planners and employees must be prepared and confident to host these types of online meetings.
More solutions enter the market each year. That’s a good thing. Contrary to opinion, a variety of solutions should not confuse, but rather provide a video conferencing solution that is tailored to the needs of the user and runs seamlessly.
From basic free applications such as Skype to professional cloud-based video and audio conference platforms, like Encore Connect, event planners and businesses are spoilt for choice.
Whether you’re arranging an online meeting or remote presenters for your event, here are some helpful tips from video conferencing experts to ensure you’re maximising the technology.
1. Select a reliable video conferencing platform
When it comes to technology, it’s best practice to choose a well known provider that is reliable, has a support team and a robust offering that can meet your needs. This is especially true with video conferencing platforms.
When you use a trusted provider, you get the peace of mind and confidence your meeting or event is in the best hands and will run seamlessly. Encore offers a first-of-its-kind rehearsal feature with our video conferencing solution, Encore Connect, where a technician will on-board you and your presenters to ensure they’re comfortable presenting remotely and know how to use the platform. It’s this kind of concierge service you won’t get when using a free platform.
2. Choose a suitable venue room
There are a few things to consider here which can all be resolved by doing a site visit or at least seeing images of the room prior to the event.
Ensure the room has adequate lighting and seating for all parties to the meeting. Natural light has its advantages but can have its own set of issues. Be aware of areas of shade and any potential distractions that open windows bring, like passers-by or pigeons pacing up and down the windowsill.
A general rule of thumb is consistency and uniformity. No dark spots in the room and no powerful bulbs which leave people seeing spots.
What about microphones or the acoustics in the room? Can the presenter’s voice project?
Is the room noisy? Does it suffer from thin-wall syndrome? All of these points can be addressed by a simple site visit or talk with your on-site events team.
Encore proudly offers Encore Connect in all our venue partners – that’s over 100 world-class venue options around Asia Pacific for you to choose from.
So you’re spoilt for choice.
3. Clear Audio
There’s nothing more frustrating when video conferencing has poor audio quality. The aim is to have people hear you clearly, without crackling and dropouts. Look for good quality headsets and microphones which help reduce noise and disruptive echoes. When in doubt, run your set up by your audio visual provider to test.
For multi-party conferences, mute your microphone when you’re not speaking to avoid adding any additional background noise. If you are hosting, make sure everyone is on the same page. Check your participants and lead the way.
For a larger event, your audio visual partner will test the audio levels of the room and work with the presenters prior to ensure both the audio input and output are set for optimal quality. Wherever possible have a practice run. The best video and audio conferencing partners will do exactly that.
4. Test your set up to find the perfect angle
Obscure camera angles might work for Tarantino, but in a meeting environment they can be very distracting.
Webcams should be at eye level and if for some reason you need to move around the room, ensure it is steady as she goes. This is particularly important if you are using a mobile device for your video calls. To avoid unflattering or distracting angles, we recommend using self-view mode to test the angle of your camera prior to the video conference.
5. Time Zone Awareness
One of the great benefits of video conferencing is the ability to overcome distance or time zone barriers. With this in mind, it is important to consider your attendees and/or remote presenters time zone when arranging it.
But what about the delays you didn’t anticipate, such as plane delays and cancellations, a last minute commitment? Offering remote presenters the option to video conference in means your event will continue to run as planned.
6. Remove Potential Distractions
Distraction is the number one killer of concentration and engagement.
Clear lines of sight without interference are essential for attendees and presenters. Similarly so are unwanted sounds – so remember to switch your phone to silent and in multi-party meetings ask attendees to do the same. Cameras pointed in the direction of anything that has the potential to distract will render it a focal point and eventually, if human nature serves me right, be more popular than a viral cat video.
7. Proper meeting etiquette for video conferencing
Just like a meeting face-to-face, there is a certain way of hosting and presenting online. It’s called meeting etiquette.
If you’re recording the meeting, it’s polite to let everyone know ahead of time you are recording and remind again when it commences. This will also help keep it professional and on-track with personal conversations saved until afterwards.
Possibly the most important feature of any conference is the ability for everyone to hear and be heard. Ask everyone to introduce themselves at the beginning, and if on audio only, ask them to state their name before they speak so everyone knows who is talking. A popular tactic for ensuring the meeting stays on track and avoiding everyone from speaking over one another is for the host to hold comments or questions until the end.
And again, avoid distractions by kindly reminding attendees or remote presenters to turn mobile phones to silent mode or switch them off.
8. Dress Appropriately
Dressing appropriately is particularly important if you’re presenting online. With all eyes on you, you’ll want to avoid wearing an inappropriate or distracting outfit that will become more memorable than your presentation.
Avoid clothing that may flare on camera such as tiny stripes, sequins or glittery clothing. Similarly, don’t wear loose tops or shirts that gape and it goes without saying, wear professional pants. We’ve heard all too often of instances where a presenter or meeting attendee stands up to get a drink of water only to reveal they’re still in their pyjamas!
Sometimes the simple things are often overlooked.
9. Stay on track with a well structured agenda
A well-structured agenda can be your best friend. Not only can it set a tone, but a well-written agenda prepares invitees for what’s in store. Ensure you include the item “All other business” as the last point on the agenda, followed by a decent amount of time for Q and A.
Keeping everyone on track with an appropriate and well-worded agenda greatly assists with maintaining conference timeframes and actionable points.
10. Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse again
This seems like a no-brainer but like any technology, testing and rehearsing will provide your best chance for success when presenting remotely or hosting a meeting via video conference. Take advantage of the exclusive rehearse feature offered by Encore Connect, which unlike free or basic platforms, gives you dedicated time with a technician to test your set up and ask any questions. Knowing your video conference is in expert hands means you can get on with the business of organising the event or meeting itself.
Speak to the Video Conferencing Experts
An increasing number of organisations and event planners are enjoying the benefits of video conferencing.
Encore has developed our own solution to accommodate the rising demand for video conferencing in small meetings and large events for remote presenters. Encore Connect is powered by Zoom, one of the most well-known and trusted platforms in the market and you can find it across our entire venue network. If you are interested in finding out more about our video conferencing solutions get in touch by calling 1800 209 099 or sending an online enquiry and one of our friendly team members will get right back.