Cisco, Polycom Offer Tips on Conducting Effective Video Conferences
Provide an Agenda
Give participants specific start and stop times for the meeting, and if you are going to share content during the meeting, be sure to email a backup of the content to participants before the meeting begins.
Look for an Uncluttered Background
Keep a clean and uncluttered background, says Kelly FitzGerald, technical marketing engineer for Cisco's Collaboration Group. A busy background can be a distraction that looks messy and unprofessional.
Check the Room Lighting
Check the lighting in the room to make sure it won't be an issue for others who are on the video conference. For example, direct light coming through windows in your room can hinder the experience of participants in other sites. If it's a problem, either adjust the system or close the window blinds.
Eliminate Background Noise
A noisy environment can make it hard to hear or be heard. If the noise can't be eliminated, make judicious use of the system's mute button, or use a handset or headset. If you do use a headset or handset, make sure not to yell into them.
Speak in a Normal Tone
Even if background noise isn't a problem, use a normal tone and volume when speaking. People are going to hear you; there's no reason to shout.
Check the Endpoint Position
Whatever endpoint you're using for the video conference, make sure it's in a comfortable position for you.
Adjust the Camera Position
You want to make sure that other participants have a good view of you. If your system has one, use the self-view feature to ensure that you are squarely in the center of the screen and people aren't seeing just the top of your head.
Start With Introductions
Unless everyone participating in the video conference knows everyone else, Polycom officials suggest that you introduce yourself and everyone else at your site and encourage participants at other sites to do the same.
Make Eye Contact
Try to make eye contact with participants at other sites. If you continue looking at the monitor to see those at other sites rather than directly at the camera, it appears that you are avoiding eye contact.
Limit Side Conversations
You'll want to limit these, according to Polycom officials. Like side conversations in onsite meetings when everyone is in the same room, they can be distracting.
Avoid Nervous Gestures
Playing with your hair and clothing or using excessive hand gestures also can be distracting to other participants.
Mind the Microphones
The microphones for some endpoints and conference systems can be fairly sensitive. So avoid tapping pens or rustling near the microphones. Other participants will hear the noise.