16 Mar Video Conferencing Best Practices
Many people in the Seattle area and beyond are working from home temporarily to help contain the coronavirus outbreak. This arrangement means many of us will need to meet online using video conferencing tools and technology more than ever before. We’ve gathered some valuable tips from conducting our own online meetings to help you create a good virtual experience.
Video Conferencing Etiquette:
- Join the meeting a few minutes earlier so you are prepared and can solve any technical issues prior to the meeting. If you’re using Zoom (ITHS and UW’s video conferencing provider), you can join a test meeting to make sure your connection works.
- Familiarize with the video platform technology. Make sure you’ve downloaded the app to your computer. Make sure your computer is enabled to share documents and PowerPoints if you are presenting. Identify where the MUTE button is and always make sure that you are connecting to the right meeting! You can find helpful information about Zoom’s attendee controls here.
- If you are presenting, have your presentation ready to share before the meeting.
- We encourage everyone to join virtual meetings using a webcam, so people can see you. If you choose to join with video, please make sure that you are dressed as if you were attending an in-person meeting and that there is nothing distracting in your space that will show in the video.
- Look receptive and attentive during the meeting just as you would in an in-person meeting.
- Make sure you have good lighting in front of you, so people can see you clearly.
- When you join the meeting, remember to mute yourself until you are ready to speak; then remute yourself once you’re done.
Useful Video Conferencing Tips:
- Some of you may not like to see yourself on the webcam, however using this feature brings so much to the online experience and facilitates more effective communications. As you get more comfortable, seeing yourself on the webcam won’t feel so awkward, and don’t forget you can always turn off self-view!
- You can always write in the chat box to comment or give feedback.
- If you are hosting a meeting:
- Act as a master of ceremonies, keeping the conversation active and moderating the meeting from beginning to end.
- Always open the meeting with a welcoming message and establish the agenda or structure, so expectations are clear from the beginning.
- Keep the conversation going throughout the meeting and through the chat box, so everyone stays involved and interested.
- Manage the clock and remind others when it’s time to move to the next agenda item.
- If you are planning an online conference or event, one feature that has been extremely helpful to us at ITHS is the breakout session tool for interactive activities from Zoom.
- We’ve also used the polling feature to ask questions to the online participants and get instant results that enrich the conversation, keep participants engaged and move the agenda forward.
Last week we conducted our annual WPRN meeting that was supposed to be in-person, and we successfully converted it into a virtual meeting 100%. Following these video conferencing best practices enabled ITHS staff, faculty and attendees to experience this conference as close as it would be to an in-person event.
We hope these tips are helpful to you in making your virtual meetings run smoothly and without too many hiccups. Practicing prior to the meeting or online event and running through all the technical details with your peers will be key to your success.