Helpful Tips for Setting Up Your Next Conference Call
In the past few months, the coronavirus has turned ordinary work life upside down and businesses around the world have had to take it in their stride and adapt using virtual conference calls in order to keep in touch with their employees and to keep their businesses running smoothly. Thanks to these alternative ways of communication, working remotely has the potential to become the new normal even after the lockdown has ended. In an effort to make this more likely, below are a few helpful tips for setting up your next conference call.
Test your setup
Even before the pandemic hit us and we were having meetings in proper conference rooms, technical issues were a very real and frustrating possibility. These issues were normally fixed with a quick call to your friendly IT team, but unfortunately, now that you are working from home, the responsibility falls to each of us. The best way to avoid technical issues in a meeting is to thoroughly test all aspects of your setup well in advance. These include the following.
Your internet connection is key to a successful online meeting. If your connection is too slow, you will have a hard time seeing and hearing the other members of the meeting and the same will be true about your own video feed. Ideally, you want to have a hardwired connection to your router, but if that is not possible, try to at least have a line of sight with it. This will prevent interference caused by walls or other devices in your home. If you live with other people, it is also a good idea to ask them to refrain from downloading files or streaming videos for the duration of the meeting.
Read also: How To Create The Ultimate Home Office
Next up is your audio setup, while most people will likely use their computers built-in microphone and speakers, we advise that you buy an external mic and headphones. The external mic will prevent noise from your computer fans being picked up, and the headphones will stop any sound from your speakers being echoed back into the call for everyone else to hear.
Finally, you will need to test your camera, firstly you’ll need to find a good spot in your house that not only has a decent internet connection but also has good lighting. If natural light is not available then try to make sure your light is in front of you so as to not cast shadows over your face. Also, make sure no light sources are on camera as that will deteriorate the overall quality by making everything darker.
Make an agenda
Agendas may seem a little old fashioned, but they are an essential tool for virtual meetings. Face to face meetings tend to keep people focused because they are in the right environment, whereas if people are at home, they can easily get distracted or derailed. To keep everyone on track and moving forward, an agenda should be made that includes at least the following:
- The purpose of the meeting
- What you want to discuss
- The overall goal you want to achieve
Try out some different tools
Online meetings, for many people, may seem like a step backward, but this is in fact not true. While certain things are easier to get across in person, like general body language, for example, some things are far simpler online. One great tool you can use to prevent distractions is to get a virtual background using the Hello Backgrounds Zoom virtual backgrounds app, this allows you to pick from hundreds of different options to find the perfect background for any occasion, whether you want to maintain a professional appearance or even simply add some humor to your meeting. Other tools include screen sharing for easy effective document sharing and virtual whiteboards that allow you to discuss topics and brainstorm ideas.
Record the meeting
Finally, one of the most notable features that online meetings have over their in-person counterparts is the ability to record the sessions. This is not only helpful for note-taking but is also a great way to keep people up to date even if they are unable to attend the meeting live. It also adds an extra layer of transparency to your organization, which is always useful, especially nowadays.