Webcams are the new go-to business tool, proven to boost online meetings success. But how do you turn the thing on?! What should I wear? And what happens if my cat streaks across the screen during a client meeting? Here’s the top 10 webcam how-to’s and tips for video meetings success.
1. Splurge for HD. With the incredible technology in web-based video meetings solutions, like iMeet, video feeds from your laptop and PC can look like you’re sitting in a million-dollar video conferencing room. If your PC and network have the power, opt for a high-res webcam for optimal performance, even if you have a webcam built into your laptop already.
2. Read (or watch) the instructions. Ignore this if you’re one of the 1% of the population who actually cracks open the manual when you get your shiny new webcam. If you hate plugging through manuals and need the help, YouTube is full of instructional videos for your specific webcam. Take five minutes and educate yourself on the features and functionality.
3. Zoom in! As much as you love the art in your home office or cubicle, the people in your online meeting want to see your face — and it makes meetings so much more productive. Since people are six times more likely to retain info when your face and voice are on the screen, zoom in your webcam to show the top of your shoulders, neck, face, and entire head.
4. Clear out the junk. Now that your face is the focal point, we need to clear out all the distractions behind you. Choose a spot in your home office, business office or cubical that has nothing on the walls so that even if you’re surrounded by laundry or paperwork, the meeting participants will never know.
5. Dress up — at least half of you. With 40 percent of teleworkers wearing pajamas during the workday, a webcam puts a damper on the telecommuting population’s home office habits. If you don’t want to suit up completely, opt for business casual on top, flannel on the bottom. I did.
6. Remove distractions. Interruptions happen, but the key to avoiding clients hearing your cussing coworker or barking dog in the background is finding that safe place for your video conference call. In the office, put up a sign that you’re in a virtual meeting or head to an empty conference room. At home, put a sign on your door asking the UPS guy not to ring the doorbell and lock the office door.
7. Turn it on! Why is being on live video any different than sitting in a conference room for a face-to-face meeting? Ninety percent of people admit to multitasking during a meeting, and video conferencing is key to making your meetings more efficient, productive and (yay!) shorter.
8. Look at me when I’m talking to you! Just like a face-to-face meeting, it’s vital that you look at the person who’s talking to avoid accidental rudeness. Look into the lens or red dot on your webcam — not the screen. Awkward the first couple of times, but ultimately makes a huge difference to the effectiveness of your meeting.
9. Step away politely. Sometimes you need to take a call during an online video meeting. In the chat pod or on your audio connection, politely let fellow participants know you need to step away before muting your phone and turning off your webcam. Turn your webcam back on to signal your return to the meeting.
10. Don’t forget to turn the webcam off. There’s nothing worse than having your clients watch you pick your nose because you left your webcam on after a meeting. Make sure to completely disconnect from your meetings every time: phone or VoIP, webcam and Internet browser. Now that you’ve mastered the power of the webcam, check out these nine surefire ways to jumpstart participation in your next virtual meeting. And if you have more questions, just Ask a Meetings Expert! We’re here to help.