5 Dos and Don’ts for Video Conferences
So you’re savvy enough to realize you have lots of virtual options for mediating your case – the real question is, are you ready? Distractions are the enemy of video conferencing, so let’s discuss the Dos and Don’ts for effective video conferencing at your remote office.
Do make sure you have a headset even if you are in a quiet space. The better your headset, the better your focus – a good headset will ensure you hear all the participants. An excellent headset will ensure they hear you clearly. Do purchase a jack extender, you want to make sure your headset fits perfectly into your computer and/or your cell phone.
Don’t rely on just one headset; electronics will go bad at the most inconvenient moments, be prepared with two types of headsets just in case one stops working.
Tip: Look into gaming headsets. Gaming headsets are designed to provide maximum comfort and durability, and often have superior noise-isolating microphones for high-quality communication.
Do make sure your backdrop compliments your video presence. You want to be the focal point of the video, and having a busy background can detract from the matters at hand. While you may love that painting, you want to make sure the participants are paying attention to you, not Picasso.
Don’t sit with your back to a door or window. As the sun moves during the day, you can go from having trees in your background to a sun-inspired halo around your silhouette. Unless you live alone, a sign on your door does not always stop other people in your household from accidentally opening the door.
Tip: To avoid distractions, consider a door lock and light-blocking shades – you don’t want to be rattled by the unexpected or be the distraction.
✔ Check Your Profile
Do arrive early and take a look at yourself in self-view mode. Give yourself enough time to look carefully and make adjustments – feel free to adjust the camera to capture your best angle, change your jacket, or get rid of the glasses. Dress to impress – confidence is palatable even in a video setting, and you want to look and feel your best.
Don’t experiment with a new look, and don’t assume the participants will only see the top half of your ensemble – that can go terribly wrong.
Tip: Tape a mock video session before your conference so you can see what the participants will see. Do you play with your hair unconsciously or touch or your face when you talk? These are things you want to pay attention to and correct if necessary.
✔ Know Your Systems
Do know what your systems can do, how to use the technology, and have a plan for use during the conference. Long conferences with only verbal communication can lead to boredom – be prepared to share PPT’s of the information you will review or of questions you would like answered. Teachers have lesson plans; you need a video conference plan. The better able you are to use the available tools, the better the experience for all participants.
Don’t experiment, if you have any doubt about how something works, don’t use it.
Tip: Consider combining high tech tools with low tech tools. One option is to write live on a whiteboard everyone can see. That’s one way to foster engagement while in a virtual environment.
✔ Always have a Plan B
Do be prepared for technology to fail. There are a lot of things that can go wrong. Your internet provider might experience an outage, your power may go out, or one of the participants may experience one or both of those issues. Be sure to have everyone’s phone number, a mobile hotspot, and a backup battery for your computer. Have a backup video conferencing option that is easily accessible by cell phone and be flexible.
Don’t be afraid to reschedule as part of Plan B. Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be.
Tip: Schedule a short pre-conference meeting a day or two before your mediation. This will give all parties a chance to work out the kinks, the sooner you can identify any issues, the better.
Distractions are the enemy of a successful video conference. With these tips, you should find yourself ahead of the curve.
If you’re interested in learning more about the video conferencing options at Miles Mediation & Arbitration, give us a call: 888-305-3553.