Microsoft Teams and Zoom are two mature video conferencing solutions. Millpond uses both solutions on a daily basis, so we have a good level of experience if you need some advice.
Virtual meetings can be challenging if not conducted well. Please read on for some advice on how to best engage with and seek engagement from your virtual teams.
Monitors and screen-sharing
- It helps to have dual monitors. One for the video and one for your shared desktop material.
- I find it really valuable being able to see all of the team throughout the entire meeting by dedicating them to an entire monitor.
- Remember to turn off screen-sharing when you are in lengthy periods of discussion. It is a lot more engaging for everyone to see everyone else during a discussion, rather than seeing only one person at a time in a tiny little window with a big static agenda up on their screen.
- Eye contact is so important – even if it is virtual. Have your camera at eye level on the monitor you look at most during your meeting. Too high means people will be looking at the top of your head. Too low means people will be looking up your nose.
- By default, the camera should be mounted on/in the monitor that has the video of your team. That way when you are talking with the group, you are looking at each other. Having the camera on another monitor (that you are using for your agenda, etc), means you will be delivering the majority of your meeting without visually connecting with your team.
- Lightweight on-ear are best. In-Ear or Over-Ear headsets reduce your ability to hear your own voice, and when this happens you end up speaking unnaturally and louder.
- USB connections are easiest. That way the mic and audio are both digital and your software shouldn’t have issues picking this up.
- If you are presenting rather than discussing, ask participants to mute their mics until they have a question. This limits the background noise for other attendees.
- This is harder to do virtually.
- Pen, Paper and a Document Cam is the best option – the simplest and most natural way to free-draw. We have a document camera in the office if you would like to borrow.
- Think about snapping a photo of your drawing afterwards to send out to the group after class.
- Tablets/Surfaces etc can work ok if you are comfortable with operating these.
- Ensure you are delivering from a well-lit, tidy room. A cluttered room causes distraction to you and your team.
- Be at a desk, not outside or on the couch. Remember to stay professional.
- Don’t attend in front a window. Your team will be talking to a silhouette all day.
I hope you’ve found these thoughts above useful, let me know if you have other ideas! Best of luck with your virtual meetings.