Whether you’re brand new to meetings or a seasoned professional with years in the field, there are always common pitfalls. They key is to know what to expect and avoid them if possible. However, with the influx of new video conferencing technology which has become increasingly common, in some ways you will need to relearn how to run a successful meeting without gaffes. It’s not actually much different, but here are a few key things to keep in mind when you’re trying to avoid the most common faux pas during video meetings.
It may seem obvious, but being late to a video meeting is especially egregious. Due to the fact that there’s more need for confirmation everyone is hooked in, not being ready to go when everyone else is holds up the entire meeting. On top of that, the entire idea of hosting a meeting over camera, as opposed to in person, is to save time. Not only are you wasting other people’s time, but you’re also wasting the resource of video that your company has invested in. Make sure you show up on time to a video meeting by being ready to go at least 15 minutes before, with your equipment set up and tested.
Not Knowing Your Tech
Given that IT professionals work within an industry that’s specifically about technology, not knowing how to troubleshoot technical issues or how to properly use the video conferencing system looks very bad. Although an app like BlueJeans has video conferencing solutions for IT that are easy to use, that isn’t a stand-in for knowing your stuff. It’s not hard to learn the ins and outs of the video system, since it’s really just a matter of reading the manual and testing it yourself. However, if you run into a problem during a meeting that should be fixable on your end, and you’re unable to, it will leave a bad taste in the other person’s mouth, indicating that your expertise is lacking. One the other hand, if you do know the system well enough, it can actually have the opposite effect and highlight your know-how and trouble shooting abilities.
Bad Camera Angle
This is a simple error, but it’s a serious one since it gets everyone off track. Entrepreneur lists positioning your camera at the wrong angle as being one of the deadly sins of video conferencing, since it not only can make you look unattractive, but also introduces a distraction which detracts from having a productive meeting. Meetings aren’t always fun, and it’s guaranteed that at least one of your participants will be looking for something to daydream about. This is what leads to derailment of conversations and prevents work from getting done. Make sure that your camera angle not only avoids distractions, but also puts your face front and center so you can be as engaging and direct as possible. When you draw attention to yourself on camera, you always want it to be due to what you’re saying, rather than a bad camera angle.
A cardinal sin of video conferencing is not eliminating noise in the background. Much like trying to talk to a colleague on the phone when they’re caught in traffic or on a busy street, it creates a frustrating situation where you simply cannot hear each other. Of course, this is sometimes unavoidable if you’re on the go and need to touch base with the office. With video, though, there’s simply no excuse. To avoid excess noise in the background, HubSpot recommends sitting in a quiet area where you won’t be interrupted and cause annoyance from other participants who have to strain to understand what you’re saying. This also prevents you from offering insight into what’s being discussed and limits your ability to be a key player in a project. One of the main reasons that people video conference is because it can bring everyone on a team together more easily than trying to meet in person, but there’s no point in doing so if no one can hear each other.
These problems are easy to avoid as long as you take the time to plan ahead before your video meeting. The reason they’re so common is that not every person has attention to detail as a skill, and that’s what you need to plan and host any successful meeting or event. Paying attention to the small things and prepping properly is all it takes to avoid these simple, yet common, faux pas. Once the damage is done, though, it can be hard to regain the confidence and patience of your audience. When colleagues or clients join in on a video meeting, they’re investing their limited time to interact with you. Being fastidious about having the materials you need, testing equipment, and ensuring that you’re on time will go a long way in the confidence you instill in your video meeting participants.