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10 tips for better meetings from your home office

In these extraordinary times, many people are using Video Conference programs and applications from their home office or their workstation, here are a few tips for better meetings to make sure you stay engaged and get the most out of the experience.

1. Turn your video on where possible:

· This will assist in providing valuable responses to conversations and content with visual cues much the same as when meeting face to face. One of the reasons we call it Video Conferencing…

· For the person presenting this means they can gauge their audience rather than feel like they are presenting to thin air.

2. Look at the camera:

· Nothing is more distracting than noticing someone not looking. Also, when talking to the other attendees looking at a different monitor or secondary screen can be awkward.

· If possible, mount the camera on your primary monitor/screen.

· Do not get too close to the camera. An image of someone’s hairy nostrils is not a good look.

3. Manage your background:

· A blank wall or minimal items in the background is preferable. Less clutter behind you makes for a better experience for others.

· Use functions like “Blur my background” from Teams, or Zoom’s Virtual background

4. Meeting Etiquette:

· Being able to talk so everyone can hear is important. The best way to manage that is practice proper meeting etiquette and wait until appropriate times to talk.

· This is a great opportunity to practice active listening. You will get more out of the meeting.

5. Use the chat function of the meeting platform for any necessary side conversations:

· Many meeting platforms have this.

· Mute your end (microphone) whilst using this function. This eliminates keyboard sounds or tapping from being heard by others.

6. Mute your microphone when you are not talking:

· This will help eliminate potential background noise from all parties adding to the experience and it is easier to hear people.

7. Screen Sharing – be aware:

· On most programs, the ability to screen share gives you options. Choose the right image to share. Sometimes this means sharing your entire desktop, other times you may only share a window.

· When screen sharing, close all non-essential programs to avoid accidentally showing content or IP that is not intended for the meeting

8. Close non-essential programs:

· Let your laptop/PC/Mac/Workstation have the best opportunity to focus its resources towards the online meeting.

· Your computer may be running slow if you have iTunes or Spotify in the background when you are engaged in a meeting

9. Have dedicated USB devices where possible

· The more you can use a dedicated microphone or USB camera for these meetings the better.

· Often this provides the online meeting platform the best input, so it has less processing to worry about.

10. Keep the conversation on track:

· A result of online meetings is often that people feel awkward enough meeting in this way if they are unfamiliar with it. It can feel like they are in a public speaking situation.

· Everyone has joined for a dedicated purpose and time. This will be a driver to keep everything on point and succinct.

· There are little experiences stranger than people looking into cameras with nothing to say.

Hopefully these tips will help make your meetings more productive and comfortable.

ICS Technologies can assist with conferencing phones, Bluetooth speakers and cameras to set up your home office. Contact us for assistance.

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