In the past, remote conference calls were a rare occurrence, only really used to speak to clients or offices in different parts of the world. These conferences were likely set up by your friendly IT team so the chances are high that you never really had to think about the back end of things. This has, however, changed with the recent lockdown forcing the vast majority of people to work from home and communicate through video conference calls. In order to help you with something you may otherwise be unfamiliar with, below are a few tips on how to run a successful remote conference.
Make use of virtual backgrounds
You will usually see people using virtual backgrounds for the sake of their own privacy, whether they have sensitive information on show, housemates or pets walking around or even just a messy room behind them, these backgrounds are a great option without having to buy a physical barrier or green screen. Virtual backgrounds for Zoom by Hello Backgrounds are a great choice and with hundreds of options to choose from you really can find a background for any occasion, whether you want to maintain a professional appearance or even if you want to add some humor to your meeting, there is something for every situation.
Be sure to communicate effectively
One of the biggest challenges faced by teams working remotely is that people either do not talk enough and stay quiet in situations where they would otherwise have input, or the opposite happens and everyone talks over each other, leading to mass confusion. To avoid these problems, assign one member in each meeting to be the mediator who can help to either keep things moving or to slow things down to make sure everything stays on track.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s also a good idea to ask any participants of the meeting to mute their microphones when they are not speaking to avoid any additional background noise that could potentially interfere with the meeting.
Set some ground rules
Just like how most offices have a code of conduct to ensure employees act in a professional manner, ground rules can do the same for online meetings. When employees are in the comfort of their own home, they can easily forget that they are, in fact, still at work. This can cause them to be very easily distracted and can also lead to them acting unprofessionally simply because they are in a setting they aren’t used to working from. Having a short list of ground rules can prevent these issues and will not only help things to move forward at a good pace but will also prevent issues from people simply not acting in a professional manner.
In addition to a list of ground rules, we also recommend that you make an agenda for any virtual meeting you host. These agendas may seem a little old fashioned at first, but they are incredibly useful for keeping things moving smoothly in a format like a virtual conference call.
Record your call
Last but not least, a great feature available with virtual meetings that their physical counterparts simply do not offer is the ability to record your meetings at the push of a button. This feature is very useful because it allows for easy and accurate note-taking, and more importantly if any employee is unable to attend the meeting live, they can simply watch the recording and stay up to date on anything discussed without needing to rely on word of mouth or other people notes. It is also a great feature for transparency in your company, while recording meetings may not be ideal in situations where privacy is essential, for the most part, it is a good idea to have a documented video record of what exactly was discussed.
There can be an unexpectedly steep learning curve when it comes to hosting virtual conference calls, but providing you remember the information in this article, you will already have a step up on others who are unfamiliar with the format. There are also plenty of tools available to help you share data over the internet, like screen sharing, virtual whiteboards, and cloud-based storage solutions, so be sure to do some extra research and keep adapting during the lockdown.