Effective Video Collaboration: Set Yourself Up for Success
Be more than a talking head: Most telepresence and video systems allow you to share multimedia source materials such as video clips, websites, spreadsheets, and other presentations. Taking advantage of this ability to communicate visual information can make your video meetings more engaging and effective.
Look them in the eye: Eye contact is important in any presentation. In a video environment, eye contact comes from looking toward the camera—not the display. Make certain that your camera is positioned as close as possible to the top center of your video display. This positioning gives the impression of strong eye contact, and helps build trust and understanding among your participants.
Enunciate: If you mumble and cannot be heard by the person seated next to you, the people on the other end will also have a problem hearing you.
You are in the spotlight: Cameras and video displays tend to make everything “bigger”. Nervous habits or little recurrent gestures are magnified and will distract participants on the other end. Try not to rock, sway, or fidget with paper or pens. Remember to relax. A video meeting is like any other meeting, except it includes people who are not physically present in your room.
The camera is always paying attention: When you are connected in a video call, the camera and microphone faithfully pick up all images and words. Smart remarks, quips and asides, or demeaning gestures such as rolling eyes, are greatly amplified at the far end. You should assume that the other meeting participants can hear and see everything, even when the camera is not pointed in your direction.
Cede the floor: Secondhand noise is distracting and makes it hard to hear other speakers clearly. So mute the microphone on your side when not speaking. This muting keeps coughing, rustling papers, and other noise from drowning out the speaker.
You are not on TV: A telepresence or video conference is two-way communication—unlike television, which is passive and one-way. Be sure to build in opportunities to verbally engage the participants at the far end. Vary your source materials and provide visually interesting items that will elicit responses.
Address your entire audience: When you are in the middle of a presentation, it can be easy to forget that you are presenting not just to the people in your room but also to the participants at the far end. Be sure to speak to, make eye contact with, and engage all parties on your call.
Testing 1-2-3:• It is always a good idea to test your system and source materials prior to your meeting to avoid any unforeseen problems.
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