How to Be More Engaging and Effective in Online Meetings
Video conferencing has become a popular mechanic for sharing ideas with clients, colleagues, and co-workers. And for good reason — it allows you to easily hold meetings with your team from anywhere around the world, without sacrificing quality or professionalism.
In the same breath, it’s a vehicle for companies to market their services, hosting webinars, conferences and workshops that drive engagement and help them connect with key audiences. In fact, in 2020, the number of organizers planning virtual events doubled and, in keeping with the digital nature of these events, 89% of planners use social media to engage attendees beforehand.
As digital conferences become the new norm, and businesses at all scales are quicker to adopt technology, so the virtual space must become a comfortable stomping ground for entrepreneurs, marketers, and campaign managers. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few helpful tips, from experience, to aid you in elevating your video conferencing events.
1. Pick the right tools for the job
If you truly want remote events to be productive, you’ll need a video conferencing tool that meets your unique need, catering to the size and length of the event as only 2 examples. These are some of the essentials that can make your video calls extra productive and easy for all parties to navigate.
Zoom, Cisco, Teams, Meet: The great debate. When choosing a platform to engage on, it’s best to select an interface that the majority of your audience recognises. This will take some of the guesswork out of navigating through Q&A’s, chats and live sessions and help set the right expectations. Three of the most popular video conferencing tools over the last 2 years have been Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet - all of which have chat functionality, “hand-raising”, video and audio preference settings and time allocations.
The marketing and comms community haven’t quite settled on which they prefer, and the choice is usually made by existing internal infrastructure - however, the data shows that Microsoft Teams has a marginal lead in terms of cross-industry popularity. Before you can determine which option is right for your event, consider how long you will need to be online, how many attendees are coming and how easily they’ll be able to access your presentations. Meet is great in terms of accessibility, while Teams is already familiar to a lot of corporate participants and Zoom is a happy medium. In some instances, you will need to upgrade your plan in order to host sessions for longer than an hour, with multiple attendees.
2. Learn pro tips and tricks for quality
All too often, we can’t see the sponsor, the participant, or even the presenter in the meeting itself, let alone at their desk a few feet away during breaks. Apart from streamers who literally step in front of the camera and hold the table for us, we can do lots of video conferencing tricks to improve video quality. For example, if you or other presenters have a Mac, turn off the transparent effect on your camera. Once you’ve turned off your effect, you can shine the light through a small slit in the top of the screen, and reduce the reflections substantially. When you’re using a camera app like Skype, you’ll get a higher-quality, clearer image. But if you’re using Zoom you need to change the setting for transparency to apply the effect.
3. Keep an eye on your audio and video quality
The quality of your audio and video is just as important as the quality of your meeting or presentation. If your video is blurry or pixelated, it’s going to create the wrong impression, and potentially hamper your reputation. Good quality leads to higher engagement, which is part of why we host events in the first place.
Pro tip: If you’re using Zoom the quality of your presentation is something you can control right off the bat. Head upstairs to the settings panel. n the Zoom “Advanced” tab, you can customize color spaces (such as greyscale vs. color space sRGB) and adjust contrast.
Whiteboards. Not all useful tools are digital. The whiteboard can also come in handy — especially during a presentation. Just make sure you have plexiglass over your whiteboard; to reduce shine.
Bose headsets are considered to be some of the best wireless headsets on the market, due to their continuous, noise-canceling audio.. These can be connected to both your laptop and smartphone, and can also be used wirelessly through Bluetooth to your computer or mobile devices.
4. Practice good communication skills
Did you know: 3 in 4 employees see communication as the number 1 leadership attribute. To be a good communicator, you have to be open and honest, embracing two-way listening. Good communicators are also able to facilitate conversation based on a pre-planned structure. The best workshops are carried out when the intentions for the session, and a corresponding roadmap, are clearly set out right at the beginning..
You can also review your presentations and participation in meetings, conferences and presentations. By recording yourself and your team talking, you can start to evaluate when you are listening and when you are talking over people or how you’re coming across from an outside perspective. This way, you’ll be able to improve on key challenges, specific to your communication style.
Avoid complicated language, buzzwords and overused speech patterns. When describing a problem or creating solutions, make sure you start by offering context to what you’re talking about - orientating everyone in the room. Speak directly to the camera and keep your story flowing by preparing a structure for important points, beforehand.
5. Be aware of your physical presentation and body language
It’s crucially important to look at the camera at times, in order to create a sense of comfortable eye contact, as you would in the physical world. This also helps to mitigate some of the “coldness” that can come with interacting online. Using hand gestures when presenting is also a powerful way to capture attention and keep your audience engaged, according to research by SmartBrief.
Want to know more about conducting quality video conferences at a large scale? Speak to us for more information.