Can You Hear Me? The Age of Video Meetings
By: Greg Larson
President and CEO at Drake Bank in Saint Paul, Minnesota
Published on September 16, 2020
Who knew that 2020 would be the year that Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other video conferencing technologies would become as popular as food delivery services and Uber? Video conferencing has changed the way many are doing business.
Even as a financial institution, we embraced video conferencing technology for meeting with our clients and partners, instead of meeting at the bank branch or the client’s business. While video conferencing is very different from meeting in person, it also is quite similar – it allows us to be face-to-face and connect in a time where interaction is sparse.
The video conferencing software programs, like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, are intuitive to use and have excellent customer experience for participants. However, it isn’t just the technology that creates a great video call experience; understanding video call etiquette and best practices will upgrade your experience and interactions in these digital platforms.
So, what should you do and not do on a video call? Here’s what I’ve learned:
We’ve all been there; your trusted technology decides not to work just when you need it. To prevent tardiness for a meeting – establish the habitat of testing your equipment before the meeting time. Is your camera working? How about the speakers and microphone?
Pro Tip: Think about your background and meeting space. Is your background messy and distracting? Are your dogs in the room and may start barking? Removing any possible distractions can help create an engaging environment for the video call.
Additionally, the only way for others to see you is if you have proper light on your face. Try setting your video call space up with rooms with natural lighting.
Pro Tip: If you need to increase the lighting on your face, put a white poster board card behind your camera to help reflect light on your face.
Finally, we’ve all heard this tip, but be mindful of what you are wearing. Just because you are home doesn’t mean everyone wants to see your pajamas.
You wouldn’t answer emails or browse the web during an in-person meeting, and the same should be true for your video call meetings. Just because you are using technology to interact with others doesn’t mean you should be multi-tasking. Close all other windows and apps and be engaged in your video call.
Pro Tip: When talking, look into your camera, not at the computer screen. This provides direct eye contact to the others on the call. It can be hard to master this; however, moving your camera in line with the viewing screen can help.
Remember all those good manners you learned as a child; it is time to put those into practice.
- If you are not speaking, mute yourself to reduce feedback
- Don’t interrupt others who are talking
- On larger group calls, introduce yourself prior to talking
All this being said, things do come up. If you are on a large group meeting and you need to take care of something, it is okay to stop video so that you can multi-task to address an urgent issue, just make sure you come back and are ready to engage again.
Pro Tip: Keep your body and hand movements to a minimum. These movements can be distracting, especially on large group calls. Additionally, don’t rely on your hand gestures to help get your point across – some people may not be able to see you.
And for my final tip, the natural salesperson in me comes out – if you are on a sales or networking call, try to anticipate your audience may need from you. Maybe you need to have a sales sheet handy or your contact information – either way, be sure to anticipate and be prepared to share that information. For example, I have a digital business card signature ready to go, so if I need to share my contact information, it is a simple copy and paste.
We all have been learning this year and will continue to, so continue to give each other grace as we navigate through these new times. And if you have any other tips, I’d love to hear them.