by Andrew Ysasi, MS
June 24, 2020
Many of us have transitioned to working from home due to COVID-19, and some of us may not return to an office setting for quite some time. As we get used to teleconference calls, check out the considerations below to ensure the experience is smooth, impactful, and memorable!
- Know The Tech – Regardless of the software or application you are using, run a test. Make sure you can start a meeting, mute attendees, record (and know how to access the recording later), and invite people to a meeting. For critical meetings, it may be necessary to have a technical support person on the call to address issues as they arise. Also, make sure you are using the latest version of the software.
- Backup Plan – Tech issues can occur that could derail your video conference. Connections can be lost, cell signal can be weak, WiFi signals can be lost, hardware can fail, and other events can occur without notice. Most commonly used video conference applications have a dial-in number that can operate as a backup way to enter the meeting. Others could have a different software solution to continue with the session (i.e. mobile phone video app, social media messaging calling function, etc.). The more tech you layer on a solution the more things that could wrong, so having a simple way for users to reconnect is crucial to continue the conversation.
- Emergency Contact Info – Emergencies can happen at any time and without warning. Most of the time, attendees are safely calling from their home, but there could be health or domestic concerns that may occur during a call. Consider having an emergency contact information in your profile or somewhere visible to others on the call. Check with your HR department to determine if a policy exists for interoffice video calls, and consider posting an emergency email or phone number in a profile or background to help guide attendees on whom they can contact if an emergency arises.
- Start Informally – Office chit-chat is not occurring as frequently, so consider a slightly longer introduction time before the actual meeting content starts. Some organizations do a show and tell, and others use applications such as Kahoot! to help break the ice. Whatever you decide, plan for this time and make sure the call leader transitions to the formal meeting content promptly.
- Clear Distractions – Most cannot control what attendees have in their surroundings, but you can make sure your surroundings are free of distractions. Check for screen glares, distracting objects, silence cell phones, mute desktop notifications, mute yourself if you are not speaking, dress appropriately for your culture, and make sure you are in a space that is as private as possible to avoid unexpected guests or pets! If you anticipate an interruption that requires you to leave the meeting, make sure to mention the event and approximate time in advance so attendees do not feel you are rudely leaving the meeting.
- Hide Sensitive Information – Your workspace has traditionally been a safe place to store sensitive information. Still, if you are speaking to someone from outside your organization, they may not have the authorization to see confidential information. Consider turning over papers, close browsers that could display social media posts or personal email, clean up your desktop background, cover whiteboards, hide building access badges, and consider muting your camera after introductions.
- Open Exit – End on time, but leave the video and meeting open in case people want to hang out and chat afterward. Keep in mind the conversation may not be private and if a private conversation needs to occur, make other arrangements. Informal meeting recap, sharing contact info, or inviting to LinkedIn could all happen at the end of the meeting. If nobody sticks around end the meeting in the software.
Organizations may have policies to help further guide on videoconference policies, best practices, and guidelines. These considerations are not for every organization and hopefully, the information provided helps your videoconference experience.
Got any ideas? Did I miss something? Don’t hesitate to comment or share your thoughts!