Tips for Effective Videoconferencing
Videoconferencing allows people to communicate across long distances with video and audio contact, using videoconferencing technology. Conducting a videoconference requires advance planning and coordination. This Web page is designed to provide some guidelines when preparing for a videoconference.
Prior to the Conference
- Create an agenda.
- Since most videoconferences are restricted by time, it is a good idea to structure the agenda into small chunks.
- Distribute the agenda to all participants before the date of the conference. Be sure to include the conference date, time, time zone (if applicable), complete list of participants by location, and a meeting contact name and phone number.
- Try to appoint a moderator for each location. The moderator will be able to assist the primary facilitator by monitoring the time, encouraging participation at their site, etc.
- Become familiar with the room you will be using for the conference.
- Ensure in advance that the room you are scheduled to use has the necessary capabilities for any instructional media you plan to use for your presentation, i.e. PowerPoint, videos, etc. It is a good idea to test your materials in the room beforehand.
- If possible do a dry run of your presentation.
- Provide participants with instructions to follow in the event of technical difficulties or a disconnection.
- Always have a plan B.
During the Conference
- Remind participants to use their microphones and identify themselves and their site before speaking. i.e. "This is Sarah from someplace USA and my question/comment is..."Also, remind participants to start their question or comment with the name of the person they are addressing.
- Encourage participation by calling on specific sites for comments or questions. i.e. "someplace USA, do you have any comments or questions?"
- Avoid sudden movements.
- If you will be walking around during your presentation, avoid walking fast.
- Look at the camera when talking to other sites. They will get the impression that you are talking to them.
- At the beginning of the meeting introduce all participants.
- Keep in mind the entire room may not be visible by the camera, if necessary you may want to announce when participants are entering or leaving the room.
- Use tent cards to show participants' and/or sites' names in large, bold characters.
- Have microphones positioned wherever necessary.
- If wearing a wireless microphone try to avoid hitting your chest, coughing into microphone, and rustling of hair or clothing.
- When speaking into the microphones, speak naturally. Videoconferencing audio systems may be amplified.
- Avoid excessive shuffling of papers, side conversations, fingers or pens tapping. To aid in this, put your microphone on mute when not talking.
- Try to be aware of silent participants. In general during a multi-point conference a site may not be shown on the monitor unless someone at the site speaks.
What to Wear
Most videoconference cameras are low contrast and low resolution. For the cameras to be able to focus on your face and transmit as much detail of your facial expressions, you may want to consider the following suggestions for what to wear on the day of your conference.
- Avoid wearing all white clothing. It reflects light causing images around you to appear darker.
- Avoid wearing all black clothing. Dark colors soak in light and makes everything around you appear lighter.
- Avoid bulky clothing. It makes you appear bigger.
- Avoid any polka dots, fine stripes, plaids, and fine designs. These cause a distracting shimmer. Pastels and muted colors tend to provide better images with video cameras. Some colors to consider wearing are pink, blue, green and fuchsia.
- Avoid big, shiny jewelry. It can cause reflections.
- Avoid dangling jewelry. It can create unwanted sounds.