Videoconferencing allows people to communicate across long distances using video and audio videoconferencing technology. Conducting a videoconference requires advance planning and coordination. These guidelines will help you prepare for a successful videoconference.
Prior to the Conference
- Create an agenda divided into small chunks of time since most videoconferences are restricted by time.
- 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 is 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 such as 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. For example, "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; "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 enter or leave the room.
- Use tent cards to show the names of participants and/or sites. Be sure to use large, bold characters.
- Have microphones positioned wherever necessary.
- If wearing a wireless microphone, try to avoid hitting your chest, coughing into microphone, and rustling hair or clothing.
- Speak naturally into the microphone. 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. 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 and expression as possible, consider the following suggestions for what to wear on the day of your conference.
- Avoid all white clothing. It reflects light and images around you appear darker.
- Avoid all black clothing. Dark colors soak in light and make everything 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.