Video conferencing has changed the face of the modern boardroom, saving businesses time, money and hassle – no more need for the networking apps of yesteryear. However, it can be easy to think of the technology as usable only at your desk, beholden to the one machine you have it installed on.
You may not know, but that just isn’t the case. Video conferencing is ultimately portable, allowing you to conference anytime, anywhere. If you’re on the road a lot, it can be the easiest way to stay in touch with the office and keep yourself in the loop. How do you use video conferencing when you’re on the road? Read on to find out more.
Download the app of your choice
First of all, you’ll need the app for your video conferencing service to get started. Conferencing providers offer a wide range of apps, for any device that you may own. For example, Blue Jeans has apps for Apple and Android phones, as well as browser and Microsoft Outlook extensions, to name a few. Find the app for your chosen device and download it to get started.
Check the area around you
Before you start, try and prepare the area around you to make sure it’s optimised for the call. It can be difficult if you’re travelling, but try and make sure you’re sat in the best lighting possible, and clear the area of any rubbish or debris. You may be calling in on your phone, but you want to look as professional as possible. Also, you want the people you’re calling to be able to see you as clearly as possible.
Dress for the occasion
Put some thought into what you’re wearing before you start your call. Again, you want to look professional, even if you’re on the move. It may be tempting to just wear smart clothing on your top half, especially if you’re calling from home or your hotel room, but remember that you may move the phone around as you talk, and others will see exactly what you’re wearing. Finally, Inc. recommends wearing plain or pastel coloured clothing, as brightly coloured or patterned clothing can interfere with the camera, distracting others.
It sounds obvious, but put some headphones on before your call, too. You could hear the person on the other end through your phone’s speakers, but they’ll hear it too, as it will cause an echo on their end which can be very distracting. Headphones also help you listen to them more closely by blocking out external sound, making it easier to concentrate on your call.
Introduce everybody at the beginning of the meeting
If there’s more than two people on your call, ask everybody to introduce themselves. Advanced Etiquette explains that this makes sure that everybody’s equipment is working properly and everybody can hear everybody else. Also, it means everybody is introduced properly and can get to know each other on the call.
Pay full attention during the call
You may be really busy and just checking in via video conference, but even if you’re on the phone for a few minutes, pay full attention during your call. Entrepreneur notes that somebody multitasking is painfully obvious, as their eyes wander across the screen. The person on the other end of the line has given their time to you, so respect that they have done so. Avoid checking your emails, typing on your laptop, or doing anything else until your call is over.
Look into the camera as you talk
If you were talking face to face, you’d look into the other person’s face, rather than over their head or at your lap. The same rules apply when you’re talking via a video conference. Look into the camera on your phone, as that is essentially the other person’s point of view. That way, you’ll have the most natural conversation outside of a face to face one.
Talking via a video link can feel rather strange, but the best advice is to just act natural. NUIT recommends talking in a natural voice without giving in to the temptation to shout, talking directly into the microphone without turning your head and distorting the sound, and limit your movements if possible to avoid looking jerky on the other person’s screen. As you’re using your phone, you may be walking, but try to do so slowly and smoothly, to avoid distorting the picture.
Video conferencing is really the closest thing to face to face meetings, so really all you have to do is be yourself. The normal rules of business meeting apply while you’re video conferencing, so retain your professional demeanour and you’re almost there. Interested in trying it out for yourself? Download an app on your phone today, and see just how easy it is to keep in touch, no matter where you are.