As a frequent business traveler, it isn’t unusual to feel like you do more work from airplanes and hotel rooms than your actual desk in the office. Fortunately, these days, you can still get quality face time with your co-workers thanks to video calls—albeit virtual face time.
Video calls have revolutionized the way we work, allowing us to connect with our co-workers and carry out business as usual remotely. But, as many of us know, these calls can come with their fair share of issues—technical difficulties and awkward moments included.
By following these “Golden Rules of Video Calls” you can cut out the chaos and have a productive meeting.
Send Out a Detailed Invite
The invite is extremely important for setting the tone of the meeting. When it comes to video calls, the meeting invite should contain a great amount of detail including:
- Time of the meeting.
- Purpose of the meeting.
- The solution being used for the meeting (Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, WebEx, etc.) and instructions on how one can access the service or download the program if need be—links are always very helpful here.
- A dial-in number.
- A detailed agenda for the meeting to help people follow along. This will be especially important in case anyone is ever disconnected.
Your invite should make it as easy as possible for your attendees to join and should predict the needs of those experiencing technical difficulties.
Take Action on the Invite
If you’re the one receiving an invite for a video call, you hold responsibility as well. Read through the invite and make sure you have all the information you need as an attendee.
It’s also very important to make sure you are prepared with the necessary software. Download the solution being used before the meeting and give yourself plenty of time to test it out so you don’t run into any problems with your camera or microphone when trying to join the meeting.
Being on time is important for any meeting and even more so when it comes to video calls—especially, if you’re the leader of the call!
Although other rules on this list will help you avoid being unprepared or running into technical difficulties, there are always unavoidable roadblocks. Giving yourself a little cushion to navigate through these roadblocks will help ensure you have enough time to accomplish what you set out to do in the meeting.
Think About Location & Connection
When you send or accept the invite, start thinking about where you’ll be taking this call. Whether you’re in the office, at home or on the road, you’ll want to find a place that is as quiet as possible with good Wi-Fi.
This might mean booking a conference room, taking your barking dog out for a potty-break before the call or heading back to your hotel room early.
When you’re on the road, finding the perfect place isn’t always possible. Luckily, no matter where you’re traveling, there’s never a Starbucks too far away.
If you’re constantly taking video calls on the road, a wireless Internet service might be worth looking into.
Be Aware of Distractions
Finding a quiet place is one way to reduce the amount of distractions you contribute to the conversation. But there are other things to think about when on a conference call—pets, housekeeping, street noise, typing and jewelry such as bracelets and watches can all cause undue noise.
Be aware of these things and go on mute if necessary. Background noise on conference calls can be very distracting.
Keep It Clean
This goes for your surrounding as well as your desktop.
First, make sure the background in the location you’re taking the video call is professional and won’t be distracting to the call’s participants.
In case you’re requested to share your screen at some point during the call, you’ll also want to make sure your desktop is cleaned up. Don’t have any confidential items pulled up nor the online shopping sites you were just on.
Turn On Your Video
To turn on thy video or to not turn on thy video? This seems to always be the question. Well, the answer should almost always be turn on thy video!
The face time is valuable—especially, if you’re constantly on the road and working remote.
As the leader of the call, you should have your video on to set the tone. And as a participant you should be ready (and looking professional) to join the call via video.
Being able to share screens and connect with your co-workers from afar makes life working from the road much easier and more productive—just make sure you are following the Golden Rules of Video Calls while doing so.