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Effective Video Meetings and Conference Calls

Are you prepared for your next video meeting or conference call?

Just because you won’t be there in-person, doesn’t mean you can leave the logistics to chance. The situation could end up like that of the BBC dad being interviewed on live TV from his house in South Korea. The video went viral:

This checklist could help you prepare for your next video meeting or teleconference:

  • The setting
    • Find a quiet location and silence your phone unless you’ll be using it
    • Eliminate distractions and interruptions; observe the environment around you
    • Check your audio quality (how do you sound when you leave a voicemail?)
    • For video meetings, test the lighting to avoid shadows on your face
    • Dress professionally; avoid jangling jewelry and distracting clothing
  • Your delivery
    • Know your content—that’s a given!
    • Keep your visual aids simple; animation may not work best
    • Understand how to use the technology—feedback tools and participation buttons
    • Develop your timing to compensate for delays in the electronic transmissions
    • Remember: Whether you are the meeting leader or a participant, you are building a relationship with your listeners

To ensure your effectiveness, refresh your personal communications skills. Many of the techniques you use to be effective in person are transferrable in telecommunications situations. However, it will take some experimentation and lots of practice.

PS—In the case of the BBC dad, viewers missed his report about the impeachment of the South Korean president, because they were distracted by the fact that he didn’t get up to help his wife with the kids.

The Daily Show host, Trevor Noah, had an interesting theory about why the dad didn’t stand up. He explained: “… this is a simple thing to understand. Anytime someone is on television and you don’t see the lower half of their body, they’re not wearing pants,” he said. “How do I know this? Because I’m one of them.”