Below are the best practices for hosting and participating in remote meetings.
- When possible, have a quiet, controlled space you can inhabit for the meeting. In the midst of the current COVID-19 outbreak, many people are forced to work from kitchen tables and bedrooms. While you can’t always control this, do what you can to make your surroundings calm.
- Use a good camera. After upgrading from a standard webcam to a professional high definition camera, you’ll really notice the difference. Especially important if you are hosting or facilitating meetings. These higher end cameras carry with them an increased price tag, but the quality is very impressive to anyone attending. The difference between attendees’ equipment will become noticeable very quickly. We recommend the Logitech BRIO 4K.
- Camera Placement is important. You should have your camera setup on top of the main monitor you will be looking at, most of the time. If you have multiple monitors, make sure you test the positioning before your first call. If you’re using Microsoft Windows 10, you can press the Windows Key (Or Click the START Button) and type “Camera”, then hit Enter. This will bring up the camera view you can leave on the screen to adjust ahead of your call. Best to do this now, rather than with an audience.
- Look into the camera when speaking. This is going to feel weird, and likely will be difficult. That being said, the difference in getting your message across is night and day. Anyone watching you will feel like you are looking at them, rather than at a screen. This eye to eye contact is important for effective communication. You’ll see the difference. When I’m speaking to an audience or answering questions, I look into the camera the entire time. This will also confirm you are engaged, and not doing other work.
- Use the right speaker and microphone combo. Like the camera item above, being able to clearly see and hear the participants is imperative to a productive meeting. There are really two ways to do this – A headset or echo-canceling speakerphone. For headsets, I usually prefer a wired model, so you don’t need to fuss with Bluetooth or connection issues. Many hybrid models exist that allow a corded connection, but with an option wireless mode as well. This gives you the reliability or a corded connection, with the ability to walk away should you need to grab something, without leaving the headset at your desk.
Alternatively, and my preference, is to use a good echo-canceling speakerphone pod. We have been using the Jabra Speak 410, and we love them. They come in both wired and wireless configurations and are very capable. The echo canceling nature means the sound coming out will not cause feedback to your other participants. The speakers are capable of operating at normal or even very loud volume levels without a problem. The echo canceling microphone works like a charm and is incredibly clear. This stylish puck form factor also offers touch controls for volume, mute, call answering and ending. The LEDs also allow you to see your mute/unmute status at a glance.
- Use the right meeting technology. There are a great many solutions on the market for hosting and attending video conferences. Two of the leaders in this space are ZOOM Meetings, and Microsoft Teams. We use both, depending on the size of the expected audience, and requirements for recording, screen sharing, etc. As a default, CompuVision uses Microsoft Teams for all internal meetings, and we can’t recommend that solution enough. Microsoft Teams is included in Office 365 packages already, which makes it an incredibly powerful tool, you probably already have access to. If you’re not already leveraging Microsoft Office 365, both solutions offer free versions with limitations on features, which can be found below.
Microsoft Teams Free: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/differences-between-microsoft-teams-and-microsoft-teams-free-0b69cf39-eb52-49af-b255-60d46fdf8a9c
ZOOM Meetings Free: https://zoom.us/pricing