Americans engage in over 11 million video conferences daily. There’s no question that the boom in remote work is driving the prevalence of video meetings. Today, even if you’ve returned to the office, it’s typical for at least some meeting participants to join by video. At this point, you’re expected to know video conferencing protocols so let’s review some of them.
Below are four pro tips for making sure your video conferences are a success:
1. Arrive a few minutes early.
Research from the University of Nebraska found that 40 to 50 percent of all meetings start late. While the pervasive lack of punctuality represents a significant loss in productivity, it also impacts morale. The same research found that attendees are less likely to find a meeting satisfactory when it doesn’t start on time.
This is one of the easiest and most important tips to remember when preparing for a video meeting: make sure to join the call a few minutes before it is supposed to start. Showing up on time is a small but easy way to demonstrate that you’re organized and focused, and that you value the time of the people with whom you’re meeting.
Keep in mind that when using some video conferencing platforms, like Zoom, you may click on the meeting link and be prompted to download and install software in order to attend the meeting. This can be especially frustrating if you’re trying to get to the meeting a minute early and end up arriving a minute late. Be sure to account for any technical difficulties or delays to avoid that scenario. Just as you wouldn’t want to be the one walking into an in-person meeting late and shuffling to take a seat while the meeting has already started, you don’t want to be the one introducing yourself after the video conference is already underway.
While LiveSwitch Video doesn’t require a download or guest registration to join video calls, it still never hurts to arrive early to form a good impression.
2. Turn your camera on.
In a recent survey of 500 executives, 93 percent of respondents felt that employees who turn their camera off are generally less engaged in their work overall. Almost the same percentage noted that they see employees who aren’t engaged in video conferences as unlikely to be with their companies for the long haul.
It’s usually best to keep your video camera on during one-on-one or small group calls unless you have a good reason not to (maybe you’re driving!). When you turn your camera on it makes the engagement more personal and allows the meeting to better mirror the experience of an in-person interaction, non-verbal cues and all. It also gives a clear sign to other attendees that you’re present, interested and listening when you’re not talking.
The value of video conferencing is in being able to see expressions and body language and to get closer to the relationship-building that is more likely to come with an in-person meeting than a phone call. Of course, if you’re experiencing video fatigue, put your mental health first and leave the camera off! But if not, turn that camera on as often as possible.
Turning your camera on and showing up early are two easy ways to promote productivity and engagement in your video calls.
3. Know a little about who will be on the call.
Going into a meeting prepared goes beyond showing up early and turning your camera on. If you're going to be on a video call with people you don't know well, research them beforehand through LinkedIn, Twitter, Google and elsewhere. This 5-minute research helps give you more context for the meeting, potential ice-breaking topics and knowledge of shared interests. If you’re in sales, keep in mind that top sellers spend an average of six hours each week researching prospects.
The idea is to establish some common ground, which makes everyone more comfortable and gets them talking, leading to a meeting that’s more warm and less robotic. Go into your meetings with a few fun talking points and common interests to bring up as needed if the conversation could use some help heating up.
With LiveSwitch Video, the MyWorld feature makes relationship-building and ice-breaking a lot easier. The short profiles allow you to share a little snapshot of your interests, interesting facts about you and even your social media links. Before you start your first LiveSwitch Video meeting, set up your profile!
4. Be aware of any meeting limits
Once you’re in a meeting, be aware of any time constraints. As of last year, the average worker spent 21.5 hours per week in meetings, up from 14.2 hours in early 2020. I like to start calls by specifically mentioning the amount of time we have allotted so everyone is on the same page and it’s clear that I respect everyone’s time. For example, I would say something like “We have this meeting on the calendar for 30 minutes today and I know everyone is busy so let’s get started.” Or if you are in a smaller group or a one-on-one setting, I would say something along the lines of, “We have the call scheduled from 10 to 10:30, does that still work for you?” Making these statements can be crucial to an efficient and effective meeting where everyone stays on task. Bonus points if you also state the objective of the meeting at the top.
If you’re using a free video conferencing account where each call has a time limit, it’s especially important to keep the meeting length in mind so you don’t have to set up multiple meetings in order to cover what’s needed. With Zoom, the maximum meeting length allowed on a free account is 40 minutes. With a free LiveSwitch Video account, you are able to meet for up to 50 minutes at a time, allowing a little more cushion in the meeting agenda and a lower probability that you’d have to rush to end the meeting.
Ideally, you should avoid running out the clock for the meeting regardless of the type of account on which you’re calling. It’s respectful to give attendees an extra few minutes to get to their next meetings should they have them back to back.
If you show up to your meetings early, prepared with knowledge of the other participants, with your camera on, and stay within the time bounds of the call, you’re on your way to a productive and efficient meeting. To learn more about how LiveSwitch Video can help you achieve these four pro tips, and to try it for free, visit LiveSwitch.com.