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So you’ve been requested to speak at a videoconference. It can be very exciting, and videoconferences are becoming the venue of choice when it comes to bringing together geographically distant teams and personnel. Here are some tips and tricks to help you prepare the environment and your appearance.
- Familiarize yourself with the equipment that you will be using. Or if you are having an online conference call with Bluejeans, you will want to familiarize yourself with the application and how to use it. You need to be comfortable with the equipment and software before you start.
- Test the equipment and interface to make sure that they work.
- Download and install all plug-ins and updates so that will not have to do this during the meeting.
- The University of Michigan suggests that you position the camera as close to eye height as possible so that it does not appear that you are looking up or looking down at participants.
- Distribute documents and other information that participants will need while you are speaking.
- Do a lighting test to make sure that speakers are lit appropriately. Lighting that is to break can make people appear washed out and too little lighting can leave speakers and unfortunately the audience in the dark.
- Choose a location with a low ambient noise level, and do an audio check to ensure that participants will be able to hear you speaking. Do a sound check to ensure you can be heard.
- When selecting what to wear, choose muted colors, midrange neutrals, or pastels. Avoid patterns, very dark or very light colors, or reds. These can all cause distracting video facts on the screen. Think about how television news anchors dress for the studio, and you will have the right idea.
- Leave the big, bold pieces of jewelry at home, and if possible remove your glasses. Frames and lenses can reflect light into a distracting glare.
During the Meeting
- The IT department at Northwestern University recommends that you begin by introducing yourself by name, your department and position, and location. If you have a name tag, make sure that it is visible to the camera.
- Look directly into the camera and address the camera as if you were speaking to someone face-to-face. Try not to move around too much, or let your hands do the talking. This allows the participants to focus on what you are saying.
- You don’t need to shout, or ask if the mic is on and if people can hear you. Assume that he told there is something wrong if they cannot. Use a normal conversational tone throughout your presentation.
- If you must have a side channel discussion during the meeting, conduct the discussion via texting, or an in app chat room if it is a subject wider that merits discussion. You may also wish to ask the meeting moderator lot time at the next meeting to address it.
- Don’t ramble, or go over your allotted time slot. Other people are waiting to speak behind you.
- If there is time allotted or a question and answer period, by all means use it to solicit questions and feedback, but allow other scheduled speakers to begin on time.
- When you are not speaking or answering questions, please mute your microphone so that background noises do not distract participants or speakers.
After the Meeting
- Make sure that you reread the minutes, or watch the recording of the meeting as soon as it’s available. Go over your notes and make sure that you came away with all the information that you need.
- The University of Wisconsin recommends that all meeting documents and recordings be archived, but be kept available in case questions arise.
- Check with each point person to be sure that action items are not sitting around and gathering dust. Actions need to be implemented in order for meetings to be productive and effective. You don’t need to be a helicopter, but do check in by email or phone to be sure of progress.
As you conduct or attend videoconferences will find that all of this gets easier, and with modern applications that are flexible across an array of devices, you may be able to do away with in room meetings entirely. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to videoconference from your tablet? Or be able to attend a conference even when you’re not in your office, or even in the same time zone? Finally, to see what some of the most memorable speakers do, try watching some of the Ted talks. Many of the speakers really have what it takes to get their point across and engage with their audience on many different levels. For those without much experience at public speaking, they can provide excellent role models and examples to incorporate into your own style