Good Video Conferencing Etiquette – Putting Your Best Face Forward

Unlike a teleconference, a video conference let's people see you or you and your team sitting across a table from them and interact almost as naturally as you do in a face-to-face meeting. Just as in the world of teleconferencing, organization and planning is the backbone of a successful videoconference. Because of technical issues, there are also rules of etiquette similar in nature to those in conference calling, but different because of the added visual element in the video environment.

In addition to issues like wearing the appropriate clothes and accessories that we talked about in a previous blog which was related to video job interviewing, there are a number of other things that are particular to the videoconferencing environment. Abiding by these guidelines will make your video conference work as you hope it will.

  1. As for conference calling, make sure you have an agenda for the meeting, distribute it to the participants in advance, and then stick to it.
  2. Be sure to get to the video suite early and check all the equipment to make sure it is working well and that you know how to make it work of have technical help at hand to do so. What ever you do, don't be late.
  3. Your camera settings should focus as much as possible on the people in the room and minimize showing a large expanse of table or wall. At all cost avoid having ceiling lights included in the view.
  4. Clothes with simple styling in muted colors help the camera stay focused and don't distract your audience from your face, which is what you hope they will be watching.

The Video Conference Zone – The Twilight Zone Revisited

So your starting up video conferencing at your company or university or non-profit organization and want to really know what you're in for and how to avoid the most common problems? Well go online and check out the video on the University of Washington TV's "How to" production video webpage. You can do this by going to "the video conference zone".

The video is a take off of the classic 60's television show "The Twilight Zone" and shows you, for real, what things that can, but shouldn't, happen in your video conference or distance learning class. It is really quite humorous and if you have ever video conferenced before or taken any distance learning classes, you will recognize some of the classic faux pas.

Of particular note are the great suggestions the moderator, a Rod Serling clone, has for video conferences in which there are multiple sites participating. One of the best is to have one moderator at each site who orchestrates that sites interactions and an "uber" moderator whose job is to be sure that all sites are cooperating and functioning so the video conference maximizes its return for all participants.

Even if you have done a lot of video conferencing, the "Zone" is definitely worth a look, even if just for the chuckle.

Video Conferencing Tips for More Effective Meetings

A good video conference is more than just knowing your equipment and making sure you are not wearing anything that will distract from your message. As in conference calls speech habits are important. Video, however, adds another important element. Motion and body language. These are also important to keep in mind so you project the image you want to send to the viewer.

  1. Speak clearly in a natural tone of voice and more a little more slowly than you might otherwise. Make sure there is a short pause between speakers because there is commonly an audio delay of about a second in transmission. As in teleconferencing, don’t let people interrupt or speak over one another and be sure to leave pauses between points to let people at the other sites speak up and express themselves.
  2. As for conference calling, keep all side conversations to a minimum. Concentrate on what people are saying at the other sites. Since they can see you, it is all the more important to show your respect by paying them your undivided attention.
  3. Be careful of where you put the phone. Do not place it near papers that might be shuffled or where other extraneous sounds might get picked up. In this regard. If you have a habit of tapping your pen on the table or drumming your fingers to release nervous energy, please remember the microphone will pick this up, and concentrate on trying to keep them still.
  4. Similarly, try to minimize body movements. Swaying or rocking or any other repeated movements or large gestures are distracting to people on the receiving end of the video and you don’t want your physical behaviors to be the topic of water color conversations on the other coast once your video conference is over.

Dress for Success – What to Wear to a Videoconference

When you can't meet someone face-to-face because of time pressures or just because it makes economic sense, a video conference is the next best thing. This lets you see the other person and let's them see you. There's a lot to be gained in person-to-person interactions where you can pick up a lot of subtle non-verbal clues as to how the other person is receiving or reacting to your message.

Being shown on video, however, is not just like being there in the room, so you have to be a bit more aware of how you present yourself and what you wear than you might be if you were sitting down with someone in person. You don't want anything, not your hair, not your clothes, not the room, not the technical aspects of the system, or any other number of things to distract the people on the other side of the transmission line from your message.

One of the easiest things to control is what you wear. Believe it or not, this does make a difference. Some colors and patterns just do not work well in the video environment. For example, for men striped or patterned shirts sometimes do not display well on remote sites, white shirts also can be a problem because of glare. Light blue or pastel shirts work best. For the same reason women should not wear white or bold highly patterned dresses, tops, or jackets. Red and black can also be problematic in transmission. Solid colors or pastels are the best.

For women, watch your jewelry, especially if it is shiny or dangles. You don't want anything to brush against the microphone or tabletop or cause feedback during the call. And you don't want to wear anything that would be distracting due to its own motion. For men, silver tie clips can also reflect light and become a visual annoyance. Tinted glasses are also a no-no because they mask your eyes and cover part of your face, the open appearance of which is an important part of the visual experience.

Did You Know That Accu-Rate Communications is a GREEN Company?

We're big on saving you money with superb video, telephone, event and web conferencing services, but did you know we can also help you and your company to make a difference for the environment and to move in the GREEN direction too?

Accu-Rate Communications Inc., parent company of AccuConference, strives to be as paperless as possible. We're working hard to do our part to save a few trees by going digital with nearly all of our office documents. We can help you move in the GREEN direction too. With our services, we help you to cut travel costs that you would incur for sales calls across the country, training seminars for employees spread across multiple branches, and international brainstorming sessions. Using our online conferencing services for audio and video, you may never have to leave the office again. Just think of the travel budget savings as well as the smaller environmental impact your business will make.

If you're worried that being there versus being on a screen might not work for you, you may want to check with your clients after a test of our services. We make it very easy to try out our services for your next meeting. We've found that with video conferencing, clients get that "personal connection" in the same way as if you were in the room "face to face". Video conferencing is a great way to connect anywhere, anytime, with anyone.

So next time you think that you've got to fly off to London for a sales call, think GREEN and get AccuConference instead!

Internet + Web Camera + Phone = Best Friends

It's official. Our favorite technologies have now become best friends. It didn't happen overnight… in fact they've been working at this for a long time; but now they are attached at the hip and changing the world - one office at a time.

You may have experienced this collaborative trio already by watching podcasts and blogs; but have you tried it yet?  

Find out what it's like to have friends you can count on.

>> Experience face-to-face at its finest

You’re there, without being there

Video conferencing makes good business sense. If you were screening applicants for a job, wouldn't it be better to see them interact through video as opposed to looking at their resume on paper? In our experience, we’ve had much more success hiring through job fairs then mass-scale wanted ads. Video conferencing is like bringing the job fair to your office.

This technology is also helpful when negotiating a deal with clients. In the past you would have to meet with a client several times in-person before inking a deal. Now, with audio and video conferencing, meeting in-person is not as critical as it once was because you’re already interacting face-to-face.

Video conferencing provides a familiarity that can't be done over email or phone. Gone are days when you only recognize a person by their voice or their email spelling mistakes. Instead of saying "Wow, it’s great to finally put a face on a name."  you can now say "Wow… you look much better on camera."

Creating the Mood: Video Conferencing Facilities

In an ever changing society, some things never cease to be important. A company’s image, for instance, is crucial in determining its success. As businesses resort to videoconferencing as an important tool of communication, facility conditions come up as crucial and decisive in undergoing a conference effectively.

Nowadays, videoconferencing not only allows for people in different locations to meet despite the geographical distance, it also grants them tools to actually undergo certain tasks in the process. The videoconferencing facilities may, therefore, need to have the conditions to house a wide range of equipment (white boards, host PC´s, cameras, scanners, slide video converters, etc.) enhancing videoconferencing possibilities.

Although adequate equipment is important in holding a successful videoconference, the room itself will greatly determin e the equipments´ performance. The room acoustics, if favourable, can minimize if not eliminate, echo and feedback difficulties. Square rooms are unadvised as they normally offer poor acoustics.

Of the audio system apparatuses, the microphones must be adequately placed not only regarding the room design but also the positioning of the speakers as to allow clear communication to take place. On the other hand, the room must have adequate light sources as too much natural light may obscure the visualization of the video display.

In a videoconferencing context we may loose notion of the always important eye contact factor. The positioning of the camera should allow speakers to focus on it and that there be nothing obscuring them from being viewed on the camera as well.
Guaranteeing the successful usage of videoconferencing will also depend on the familiarity of those involved with the whole process. As a result equipment and room conditions should be checked beforehand.

As personal contact ceases to exist, all details must be thought as to ensure that business runs smoothly!


The Coming Video Conferencing Revolution?

Apple has just filed a patent on a two-way LCD that can both display and capture video and images simultaneously. The technology uses special receptors embeded in the liqud crystal display screen. Obviously this has tremendous applications for videoconferencing, where you can actually look into the eyes of someone you’re speaking with, and they will be looking right at you, since the display and the camera are the same unit.

The technolgy could be used in video displays, as well as cell phones and PDA’s.

You can read the entire article here.

Video conferencing in your Comfort Zone with your PC

Video conferencing has become a somewhat common tool used in business and education to put people in contact. It surfaces as a solution to that so often quoted expression “Time is money!” As we battle with not having enough of it, new technologies are currently at the service of society allowing us to undergo everyday tasks including business and education from our own homes abolishing time and travel constraints. Nowadays videoconferencing can, therefore, take place in a conference room at a major enterprise or simply from a PC to another, known as desk-top videoconferencing, from the comfort of one’s home.

You are probably wondering how big an investment must be made to integrate a videoconferencing system on a home computer. You will be pleasantly surprised in knowing that the additional software needed is minimal (usually a video board, camera, speakers, microphone or a headset and telephone attached) and costs virtually insignificant. What concerns hardware, most videoconferencing services run on computers which, if relatively new, already comprise the needed requirements.

When considering desktop video conferencing, your internet connection will greatly influence communication. It is therefore, important to check, and if necessary, upgrade internet speed as well as ensure that the internet service provider offers the needed services.
Once all elements are properly installed, at the touch of a button a world of audio, video and data sharing are at the user’s reach. Not only can the participants be seen and heard, but also exchange information.

Conferencing through a desktop computer can therefore, facilitate communication as costs are reduced and productivity increased. Having the flexibility to work from home or in any given location has contributed to keeping those involved in the process, motivated and enthused with the possibilities at hand. Communication and how it is defined has come a long way and it won’t be long before PC conferencing has become vulgar.