Conference calls and virtual meetings have been an important tool for years. Used by almost everyone from huge organizations to small businesses and even by families to keep in touch, conference calls have been integral to our society for quite some time. However, due to the recent pandemic, they have become more and more necessary and widely used. This means that if you’re working from home you probably no longer have an IT team setting them up for you and instead have to do the bulk of the work yourself. In this article, we’ll be going over a few things you can do to make your next conference call a smoother experience.
Double Check Your Setup
We all know what it’s like to be joining a conference call or virtual meeting and have one party experiencing technical issues. The meeting is delayed, and someone usually ends up joining already frustrated which sets the meeting off to a negative tone from the get-go. While there are always going to be some things that are out of our control, most of the time a couple of quick checks done in advance will prevent any serious issues in your call.
Check your connection:
The first thing to do is to check your internet connection. This does not only mean you need to check that your speeds are sufficient to stream a video call, but it’s a good idea to be somewhere with a line of sight to your router if you can’t get a hardwired connection. If your internet is temperamental, it’s also a good idea to speak to anyone else who may be in the house and ask them to avoid downloading or streaming things like Netflix while you’re on your call.
Check your camera and microphone:
Ideally, you would test this with another person who will be joining the meeting but if nobody else is available you can check if they’re working through your computer settings, just google the model of your laptop and how to do so. Additionally, it’s best to use headphones as the other people in your call may hear an echo from your speakers if you don’t.
Take Advantage of the Format
You’re no longer locked in a boring meeting room watching a presentation or brainstorming ideas on a whiteboard, technology allows us to do many different things in order to make these virtual meetings more efficient and can even help you hide an untidy house. If you haven’t had time to tidy up or if you’d simply rather avoid having co-workers and strangers looking into your personal life, as long as you’re all using the Zoom app, you can use a zoom green screen to alter your background and prevent anyone from seeing past your face. You can also use things like virtual whiteboards and screen sharing to keep the meeting interactive and engaging. These tools not only help relay information better, but they also help the participants brainstorm as anyone can take control or share their own perspective.
Make A Plan of Your Call
One of the few downsides of virtual calls is that it’s much easier to come off the track, this may be due to the participants being distracted by home life or even because it’s much easier to fall into an awkward silence when people aren’t physically in front of you. To avoid these and to keep your meeting moving forward productively it’s important to have at least a rough plan of the meeting.
Be sure to make a note of the following key details:
- Why you’re meeting
- The main points you want to discuss
- The overall desired outcome
Timed agendas can also be very useful for larger meetings but aren’t typically necessary for shorter ones.
Think About Recording Your Meeting
Another great feature of virtual meetings is that you can record them. This means that instead of taking too many notes during the meeting itself, you can simply record it and share the video with all the participants, allowing them to reference it and make more notes at a later time. This helps keep people focused on the task at hand and will often encourage them to be professional and regularly contribute as they know they are being recorded.
Virtual meetings and apps like Zoom are incredibly useful in this age, and with a few quick checks you can not only ensure that your meeting runs smoothly, but you can also take full advantage of the technology available to you.