4 Video Conferencing Tips to Streamline Communication with Remote Teams

With COVID-19 forcing many organizations to make a rapid transition into the work-from-home lifestyle, there’s been a learning curve when it comes to communication with remote teams. There’s a ton of helpful technology to leverage, but without proper implementation, these tools can also leave plenty of room for frustration and miscommunication.

As you probably know, video conferencing can make a huge difference in streamlining communication with remote teams. When in-person meetings simply aren’t possible, video meetings are the next best thing. However, there are important etiquette tips to follow that can help improve your video meetings and boost productivity. In this blog, you’ll learn 5 top video conferencing tips from our fully remote company.

1. Stay aware of your video and microphone settings.

As long as you’re not being called upon to speak in a video meeting, your microphone should be muted. When your mic is on, your coworkers in the call can hear all the sounds going on around you, which can interrupt the person who is actually speaking. If you’re in a particularly noisy location, headphones with an attached microphone can cut out some of the ambient noise, but coughs, sneezes, breathing, and typing can still be heard.

As a general rule, just hit that mute button. And, of course, make sure you remember to unmute when you are ready to present, answer a question, or make a comment.

It’s important to check video settings frequently throughout the meeting too. At FormAssembly, we like to keep our cameras on most of the time to get as much face-to-face interaction as possible. However, we understand that there are some moments in work-from-home life when it’s best to turn the camera off. If you choose to keep your camera on, look around before starting the meeting to make sure your space is well-lit and professional.

2. Be prepared.

Just like in a real-life meeting, make sure to show up on time. If you’re late, communicate. It’s also important to make sure all of your necessary technology is working properly before joining a meeting to avoid interruptions, delays, and distractions. Check your internet connection, log in to your video conferencing service a few minutes before the meeting begins, and test out your camera and microphone. Each video conferencing platform is a bit different, so whether you’re using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, or something else, make sure to familiarize yourself with the platform ahead of time.

When communicating via video chat, it can also be extremely beneficial to prepare agendas and speaking orders for participants to make sure people aren’t talking over each other. Specify clear goals for meetings so everyone stays on the same page, and share your screen if you need to show a particular document or presentation to the group.

3. Avoid distractions.

Be present! When your coworkers are talking, stay focused on the meeting instead of scrolling through your to-do list and checking emails. Your coworkers will most likely notice if you’re distracted, which in turn will distract them, too. Also, to simulate face-to-face interaction, it can be helpful to look into the camera during the meeting so your coworkers feel like you’re talking to them and not to your computer screen.

If possible, try to avoid distractions in the space around you as well. When you’re working from home, there will inevitably be distractions from time to time, but make an effort to prevent those distractions from affecting your coworkers. Sit in a quiet room with a simple, professional background during your video meetings, and turn off your camera and microphone if something’s happening around you that could sidetrack someone else.

4. Accept the awkward moments.

Remote work life is unique and at times, unpredictable. Of course, there will always be moments when unexpected things happen. Your computer battery may die during a meeting, your cat may jump up on your lap, and your dog may start barking at the mailman during an important presentation. While the best practices outlined in this blog post can be helpful for communication with remote teams, some things are unavoidable. The most important thing to remember is even if you’re not together, you’re definitely not alone!

FormAssembly has operated successfully as a fully remote team for more than a decade, with more than 100 team members spread out all over the globe. Learn more about our company culture on our culture page.

To discover even more helpful remote work tips, check out this blog post for more of our top remote work resources!

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