HOLDING A SUCCESSFUL VIDEOCONFERENCE
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Dr. S. Ann Earon, President
Telemanagement Resources International Inc. (TRI)
www.IMCCA.org | www.TRIInc.com | Email: AnnEaron@AOL.COM
Videoconferencing allows people in different locations to conduct business as if they were in the same room. No longer considered a technology for the future, videoconferencing has a positive impact on the way organizations conduct business today. Videoconferencing is a proven technology which provides both quantifiable and qualitative benefits. However, a videoconference is not a face-to-face meeting. To be effective while planning and holding a videoconference there are a number of tips to follow. These can be divided into four areas: planning, room preparation, effective meetings, and meeting etiquette.
To be effective, videoconferencing takes proper, prior planning, particularly as your conferences include more than two locations. The more time you allot to planning your videoconference, the better the chances the time slots you seek will be available. Be sure you take into consideration time zone differences or you may find some of your participants don't join the meeting on time. Also be sure to get the telephone number in the video room in case you need to call someone there should you have any trouble. Large font size on graphics materials is important since without it participants will not be able to see the image clearly even if they try to do so by getting closer to the screen! Having a fax machine near the videoconferencing room is also helpful when last minute information needs to be distributed.
Videoconference Planning Tips
Ideally, prior to installing your videoconferencing equipment your room was treated to ensure proper lighting, sound, and HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning). Whether or not this was done, you can maximize the effectiveness of your videoconference by turning on all lights so individuals appear evenly illuminated, avoiding the "raccoon eye" look. If the room you are in has windows, close all blinds. Turn off any extra fans. Be sure all the
equipment you need for your conference is in the room and in working order.
The table should face the video monitors so everyone is equidistant from the camera. This results in all participants being the same size image to the distant end.
Videoconferencing Room Preparation
Like face-to-face meetings, videoconferences should be well prepared. The difference between a face-to-face meeting and a videoconference is that meetings that are not properly prepared appear worse on videoconferencing.
All participants should be introduced, even those who may not appear in the camera image. It is helpful to have a sign at each site identifying that location. This way as each site comes on the screen others know with whom they are speaking. This is particularly important in a multipoint conference.
How To Run Effective Videoconferencing Meetings
Meeting etiquette is particularly important in a videoconference for without it chaos begins to reign. This is especially true in multipoint conferences. Be sure to mute your microphone when another site is speaking. Be aware of the transmission delay. (If a good joke is told those at your end will laugh before those at the distant end hear the punch line.) Avoid making rapid movements during a videoconference. The equipment works based on what moves. The more movement, the harder the equipment must perform. Looking like television anchor people is not necessary, but wearing muted colors and solids produces better images.
Videoconference Participant Tips and Meeting Etiquette
As videoconference usage within your organization continues to grow, the above guidelines should prove helpful in ensuring successful meetings using videoconferencing.