Millions of people across the globe have been working from home during the pandemic – although some businesses are now returning to the office. This places a high reliance on video conferencing technology to facilitate the day to day running of businesses.
In this article we’ll look at our top tips for helping video calls run more smoothly, whether they are weekly team video catchups or client meetings and pitches. Just because you’re stuck at home, your growth plans don’t need to slow down, and you can still win new business and keep existing clients happy!
We reckon this new culture of video calls will continue even after we all return to our offices, so it’s useful to get ahead of the curve now and learn the best practices for video calls.
What can go wrong during a video conference?
Video conferencing is the most elegant alternative solution you have to the challenge of not being able to meet face to face. However, it’s not without its potential pitfalls unless you bear the following in mind:
Fail to test your tech, prepare to fail
For your video meeting to go without a hitch, you’ll need to confirm that your computer permissions are properly configured. Two of the most important things to check are whether your microphone and camera permissions are correctly calibrated.
You may need to manually enable permission for your camera and microphone software on your computer. Otherwise, if you’re talking to new strategic partners or potential clients for the first time, you risk leaving a bad impression.
Set an agenda
Face to face meetings are always more efficient when you have a running order of pertinent issues you plan to tackle. Meeting agendas hold attendees to account, preventing any waffle or irrelevant tangents from being pursued.
In the current climate, productivity can’t be overvalued. Setting an agenda for your video conference can help your team run like a well-oiled machine and make the most of your resources, however temporarily restricted they may be.
Set aside time for a chat
If you’re having a team meeting it can do wonders for everybody’s wellbeing if you set aside time for an informal chat. It’s important to ensure none of your team members are feeling isolated and alone, so allotting some time, even just a few minutes for an informal chat, can be a great shot in the arm for everyone’s morale.
Choosing your preferred video conferencing equipment
Armed with some tops tips for having more productive video calls, it’s now time to reassess the software you use. Look at having an arsenal of options for different scenarios.
Which video software you choose depends a lot on your requirements, including the size of your team, the purpose of your meetings, who you’re talking to and how long you’ll need to rely on the software.
Zoom took the early lead in the video conferencing software battle that took hold as the great COVID-19 work from home rush ensued. It currently has over 200 million daily users. It seems the tool has gone from being almost unheard-of, to being on everyone’s lips in the space of two or three months.
Zoom offer a free service that includes meeting rooms with a capacity of up to 100 participants. One advantage it holds over the free version of Google Meet is that it allows up to 49 participants to be visible at one time; this could be suitable for large enterprises. A drawback of Zoom’s free plan is that although there is no trial period, you can use the tool as much as you need, there is a 40 minute time limit for calls with three or more participants.
In March, lockdown measures were coming into effect and Google made the move of making their Google Meet enterprises free until September. Google has rolled out free access to advanced features to all G Suite members, making it easier to keep your business going.
These features allow up to 250 participants on a video call. If you need to organise company-wide meetings, this feature could come in extremely handy. Plus, the number of calls you can make is unlimited.
Choosing to use these free services could be a consideration if your company can foresee a return to the office by September and don’t see paying for video conferencing software to be a priority.
The advantage of Microsoft Teams is that it’s fully integrated with Microsoft Office 365. If you are a subscriber, it’s easily accessible.
The challenge comes when you start collaborating with extensions of your teams, such as freelancers, agencies, outsourced workers and partners.
A growing number of companies, especially smaller ones, now run on G Suite as an alternative to Microsoft. Teams’ integration isn’t quite as smooth when you go cross-platform like this.
Even the best software needs winning hardware
Using the best software package for your business’ needs and managing that software with aplomb isn’t necessarily enough to guarantee success. In the work from home environment, any number of technical challenges are posed, that’s why it’s imperative that your business invests in the latest hardware to enable your employees to flourish in trying circumstances.