Remote working is a trend that has grown exponentially across many enterprises since the first quarter of 2020. Such initiatives brought a paradigm shift in corporate culture. Now, companies realize that workers can be productive and collaborative even if they aren't working within the same physical space.
Remote working tools allow us to develop new ways of cultivating impactful relationships with our workmates, customers, and other industry partners. The same innovation has allowed companies to conduct meetings via video conference calls. Webinars have also given a breath of life to schools, offices, and trade shows amidst the pandemic lockdown.
As we all prepare for a post-pandemic era, it's important to have the resources necessary to keep working. A lot of people might think that work from home culture is no longer relevant in this new reality, but I disagree! Some of your employees or even your affiliate companies might have to work remotely for a little while longer; thus, you need to put measures in place to guarantee the seamlessness of your conference calls.
Today, we’ll share the best practices to follow as you prepare to embrace a future full of video calls and webinars.
Get the Right Equipment Setup
Webinars and official video conference calls can't be conducted as a spur of the moment event. It takes proper planning to ensure flawless execution. After all, it would be extremely frustrating to gather people for an event, only for you to experience interference resulting from technical issues.
So, let’s look at the best equipment set up before we get into the heart of the actual call.
Most modern laptops and PCs have the necessary specifications to handle a virtual meeting. However, it would be wise to ensure that updates or other background processes don't consume too much of your processing power.
It would also be prudent to ensure that you have an internet connection of at least 4 Mbps. This minor consideration improves audio/visual broadcast quality. It would also be best to consider using modern web browsers such as Safari (iOS) and Google Chrome (Windows), seeing as these browsers have built-in features that help virtual meetings go off without a hitch.
The market is choke-full of excellent webinar and video conferencing software. However, they are not made equal. Here are some considerations to guide you when trying to settle for the best virtual meeting software:
- They can handle several presenters
- They feature customizable backgrounds and HD video quality
- The attendees don’t need to download cumbersome plugins or software to attend the meeting
- They can handle many connections from diverse locations
Virtual conferences can be frustrating if you can't hear the speaker. You can solve this by getting a quality pair of noise-canceling headphones with an extendable microphone.
You could also add some level of professionalism by opting for a minimalistic podcast setup. This includes the following equipment:
- A condenser microphone (with spit guard)
- An audio interface
- An audio mixer
- A desk stand
Most laptops and all-in-one PCs feature webcams. However, you can improve the quality of your presentation by opting for a stand-alone webcam.
Webinars don't need complicated lighting setups. Merely switching on the lights in your room ensures that people can see you. You could position 1 or 2 desk lamps for even more adequate lighting. Another great idea would be to have a few gel filters or dim the lights to create an appropriate tempo and mood.
However, natural light is your best friend in such situations. If it’s feasible, have your setup in a semi-open space or close to a window if you don't have a variety of lighting options at your disposal.
Groom Yourself for Success
Working from home has loads of benefits but an equal measure of potential pitfalls. No one is concerned about how you dress, if you stopped shaving, or stopped putting on some makeup. You’re mostly at liberty to wear whatever you want.
The only thing that matters is that you show up to the virtual meetings and make valid points every time you speak. However, unless you live in a cave, you have likely stumbled upon the hundreds of videos making rounds on social media of some employee that was caught embarrassing themselves during a webinar or an official video call.
As they say, "clothes make the man (or woman)." In essence, your image matters regardless of your surroundings. This fact rings especially true in the offices. The way you dress communicates how much value you attach to your work, colleagues, customers, and yourself.
Sure, one of the comforts of working from home is to dress for comfort, but showing up for a virtual meeting in your pajamas or that snug t-shirt sends the wrong message. It indirectly communicates a similarly casual approach to business.
Putting your best face forward can help others notice you as soon as the microphones and cameras turn on. It's easier than you think, and you can look great and feel comfortable at the same time. Your face and everything that goes on above your waist are what matters during a virtual meeting. Field reporters have perfected this art for years.
Here are a few tips to help you with this:
- Take a shower and remember to groom your face
- Avoid wearing noisy jewelry
- Consider wearing clothes with small print and solid color palettes
- You can keep it semi-formal by throwing a blazer over whatever you have on
- T-shirts pair well with sweater vests or waistcoats
- Wear some perfume. They may not smell it, but it boosts your confidence in how you appear.
Consider Your Comfort and Ergonomics
Most people assume that video calls and webinars will not go on for too long, so they opt to log in via their smartphones. These devices give you the luxury of flexibility, seeing as you can move around and perform other tasks as you communicate with a multitude of people.
Modern internet connectivity and telephony solutions have made communication easier. Sure, today, you can handle vital business items while on the move; some people even strap their phones to their dashboards and drive as they attend virtual meetings. However, this solution does not allow us to hold long conversations. Imagine holding on to a smartphone for over an hour- that would wreak havoc on your natural posture. Your jerky movements may also confuse other participants.
The only safe assumption to make is that your official conference video call or webinar will last for a while. So, the first thing you need to do is find a comfortable office chair. An ergonomic office chair allows you to maintain the proper posture for conducting virtual meetings.
The Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair is not only aesthetically pleasing. But, it packs loads of comfort-enhancing features at an affordable price point. You can sit on this office chair for hours without any strain on your back or posture.
Here are a few of its features and how they can help you sit through a prolonged virtual conference:
450 backrest tilt: allows you to recline in comfort as it props your back. With such lumber support, you can rest easy and project your voice more effectively.
Adjustable seat depth: Cheap office chairs fail to account for the mechanical challenges posed by various body shapes. This feature eliminates the need to recline when adjusting to fit your face within the webcam's frame.
Premium fleece mesh: This feature has a multiplier of benefits, but we’ll focus on how they immediately aid in enhancing video calls. First, it's breathable, so you have reinforcement in the event you sweat through a virtual presentation. Secondly, it cradles your back more naturally, eliminating any back pain.
Premium nylon casters: The advantage of office chairs is that the casters allow you to move around without getting up. The problem is that they make squeaky noises that can be distracting. The Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair features five premium seat casters that operate silently.
Not being in close quarters to other participants may give you the illusion of laxity. You may be tempted to take it easy or even multitask. However, responding to emails or multitasking through video calls can distract you from your core business. You can also find it hard to respond to questions when you have some food or drink in your mouth.
The rules of etiquette when conducting a face-to-face meeting also apply to virtual ones. So, it helps when you follow the same degree of standards. Always assume that your broadcast is live as soon as you enter a room for a webinar or official video call.
It also helps when you speak clearly into the microphone and maintain direct eye contact when you talk. This action signals your intent and gives your words more gravity.
One of the most frustrating things about a virtual meeting is the 2-3 second delay. Getting your point across can be difficult if everyone speaks at the same time. So, consider signaling other participants when you have a comment or question.
Below are other dos and don’ts when conducting a virtual meeting:
- Speak clearly and take pause whenever some else steps in
- Dress appropriately for the event
- Make natural and slow gestures
- Minimize your body movements
- Keep the presentation as animated as possible
- Be accommodating and courteous to your audience
- Obscure the camera or microphone
- Interrupt or interject when someone is making a point
- Wear clunky or noisy jewelry
- Make distracting hand or body movements
- Conduct side conversations
- Have insider jokes that leave out some of the participants
Bonus Pro Tip
Making a virtual presentation can be challenging if you have to stand and move a little to regain feeling in your muscles. However, it also means that you’d have to somehow move or adjust your webcam or computer as you stand or move. This action not only wastes your time but other attendees’ time as it’s quite distracting.
It helps to have a height-adjustable monitor mount that you can tilt with ease. The Single Monitor Mount F7/F8L has a flexible arm that accommodates most TFT screens and cordless all-in-one desktop computers.
Here’s how the features of the Single Monitor Mount F7/F8L can enhance your presentation:
This monitor mount features a grommet mount base and sturdy C-clamp. This clamp extends to accommodate a desk or support platform of 0.8 – 3.94 inches. You can set it up within minutes, and it steadies your equipment throughout your presentation even as you move.
Complete 360° Rotation
Your next presentation can be the best. The monitor arm rotates 360 degrees, making it easy to flip between landscape and portrait orientation for your virtual slideshow.
Attending a webinar or official conference video call is a serious affair. Sometimes, you can't predict how long it will last. So, the best way to prepare for a virtual meeting is to ensure you're comfortable enough for any eventuality. It all starts with picking an ergonomic office chair and the right equipment setup. We hope these tips will add a positive impact on your next virtual meeting.