Working from home isnt going away, even though we are well on the road to recovery (hopefully!), so I thought it would be a great time to look at ways to ensure that everyone is making the most out of their video conferencing. This applies equally to Microsoft Teams, Zoom or any other video conferencing service.

Etiquette

First of all, some simple etiquette to get everyone started. These are a great way to not start off on the wrong foot!

Mute the mic
When you join a group meeting its best to have your microphone muted. This stops any feedback or noises from the room or any other distractions leaking into the meeting. Just remember to unmute yourself when you want to speak!

Use headphones or earphones with a mic
Using headphones makes the sound so much better for everyone. They don't have to be the latest Apple £500 device, even cheap ones will be better than laptop level microphone and speakers.

Test your settings
Most applications like Zoom or Teams allow you to get into the meeting lobby a little before. This is the perfect time to double check that everything is set up and working as expected. This way not only makes you look more professional and is less stresful, but also means that you're not taking up everyone else's time whilst you sort out any issues.

Set up your backdrop

No-one wants to see your messy bedroom or kitchen in the background. Why not select one of the built-in options or, for a more branded look, set up your own corporate backdrop. I have seen clean canvases with logos, slogans or even pictures looking like the normal office location. These are much more professional looking than whatever happens to be in the background.
This also has the advantage of hiding accidental intruders or someone bringing you a cup of coffee...

While you are setting up the background, you can also ensure that there are no 'comedy' filters like sunglasses, hats or cats; we all know you aren't a cat. Lets keep them to Instagram or TikTok!

Secure your meeting

If you are setting up the meeting, then make sure that you set up the security correctly so that you don't get gatecrashed by uninvited troublemakers. Enable a waiting room so that people joining have to be admitted individually once you are happy that you know that it's the correct person. A strong meeting password will also help to stop any intruders.

Use the correct tool

If everyone in your organisation uses Teams to communicate, don't set up a Zoom meeting! It may sound obvious, but we've seen it happen so many times just because it happens to be the programme that the person organising the meeting is familiar with.

Making use of the applications that you and your colleagues already have installed and configured means that you won't be spending lots of time trying to install, set up and learn a new app, or register accounts for a new service!

Whatever the choice of tool, make sure that it's appropriate for the use too - for example, don't use a personal Zoom account with a 40 minute limit, and don't try and use voice or video only conferencing if a screen share is needed.

Whiteboard

If you are collaborating on something, then a virtual whiteboard can be an invaluable tool. Don't be afraid to use it!

Both Teams and Zoom feature a whiteboard which allows multiple people to sketch plans and ideas together and then talk through them. You can even export that picture for future use.

Recording

Sometimes you need to record a meeting; maybe you want to review it later, or need to share it with someone who couldn't attend. Don't forget the common courtesy of checking with everyone first to ensure that they know they are being recorded and are comfortable with it though!


How Freethought can help

Here at Freethought we want to help you to make the most of the existing tools that you have and advise on implementing any new tools to ensure you and your teams can operate at peak performance. With our vCIO function you get regular meetings to review the systems and improvements. Plus our support services can ensure your meetings go without a hitch!

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