Tag Archives: best practices

Video conferencing etiquette 101

Looking for the key that unlocks productivity and innovation at companies? Video conferencing is your answer, letting employees scattered across the globe to collaborate via face-to-face interaction. However, just like phone decorum calls for a "hello" and "goodbye," video conferencing requires its own set of manners.

To ensure you make a good impression on your boss and co-workers, here are some video conferencing etiquette guidelines:

Look presentable 

Just because you can call into a video meeting in your bedroom doesn't mean you can get away with wearing your pajamas. Treat the call like any other business meeting and wear what you would sport to the office (and maybe move from a stack of pillows to your desk). And please, wear pants, too. Even though screens will show only your upper half, you never know if the camera could fall or you'll need to get up for some reason, as Entrepreneur magazine pointed out. It pays to be prepared. 

Have a tidy background

Be conscious of your background before joining a video conference. Make sure the space behind you is clean and free of clutter; otherwise the meeting participants will be focused on the dirty dishes littering the table behind you more than your talking points. Use an even, face-level camera angle, too, as anything else is distracting. 

Set up good lighting 

You don't need to become a lighting expert before you dial in to a video meeting, but you should make sure the room will be bright enough for all callers to see your face clearly and without shadows. 

Keep your microphone muted 

You never know what's going to be amplified by your computer or headset microphone – your finger tapping, a fan running in the background, a dog barking, a car speeding down the street, etc. It's polite to keep your microphone on mute when you're not talking. 

Make eye contact 

It's human nature to have your eyes fixed on your beautiful face in the box at the bottom of the screen instead of on your webcam. However, looking directly into the camera is important because it helps you connect with your audience. 

Fight the urge to type

You may want to type notes during your video conference, but resist the temptation, the Wall Street Journal advised. Not only could it create noise if your microphone isn't on mute, but also other people may assume that you are working on something unrelated to the meeting. 

With these tips, you can have pitch-perfect video conferencing manners. 

7 Ways Your Last Webinar Stunk and How to Fix it

Webinars are considered a top lead generation source, but it’s no lie that they are a pain to plan and execute.

There are so many things that can go wrong when you’re trying to put on a webinar successfully. And yet, so many pieces are left to to chance or uncertainty. Some webinar platforms have cumbersome functionality, leaving you frustrated and concerned about the outcome of your webinar.

Check out our infographic to find out if you’ve been making these seven mistakes and how to fix them.

Fix Your Webinars

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How to Avoid the (Dreaded) Leader-less Meeting

Have you ever been in a meeting where there is no clear moderator (or facilitator) and nobody seems to care about taking notes? Yeah, we’ve all been there.

Typically these types of meetings result in conversations wandering aimlessly along with any clear direction or outcome to be focused on. The leaderless meeting can be a complete time-suck for employees at all levels – wasting valuable working time in a conference that has no facilitator to push the conversation towards a meaningful goal.

If this sounds like your meetings, you need to turn things around—and fast. One idea is to introduce a few changes.

Why?
A recent blog written by Jack Welch describes how useless meetings will make or break your career by the way you are perceived in them. And the same can be said about if you continuously schedule useless meetings. But it’s more than perception, it’s about wasting time and ensuring you can deliver as a team.

 

How to fix it:

  1. Assign a facilitator and note taker

Seems simple right? It is.

Every meeting that you go to should have a clearly identified facilitator and note taker. This simple task of assigning these two roles can nearly instantly turn your meetings around.

These two roles should be decided upon, and the power should be granted to the people filling the positions, prior to the meeting starting.

Facilitator responsibilities

  • Create a meeting agenda.
  • State the purpose of the meeting at the start.
  • Start the conversation.
  • Ask pointed questions about agenda items.
  • Keep the conversation on track without stifling creativity.
  • Determine deliverables and solicit ownership from attendees.
  • Make an effort to include everybody.
  • Assist note taker as necessary.

 

  1. Clarify responsibilities

Often times when leaderless meetings happen it’s because responsibilities and guidance have not been given to the meeting facilitators. The people who fill the positions of facilitator and note taker should not only be informed of what their responsibilities are – they should be fully capable of performing their duties.

Note-taker responsibilities

  • Organize notes by agenda item.
  • Keep track of deliverables, timelines and owners.
  • Ask clarifying questions.
  • Summarize agenda topics to attendees
  • Draft follow-up emails to attendees with notes, deliverables and the corresponding accountable parties.

 

Take action, inspire action 

Take initiative and be adamant about valuing your time and the time of your team members.

A good leader and facilitator can improve both the process and the outcome of meetings. Take the time to train your employees on how to facilitate their meetings and you have the potential to improve productivity greatly. If that’s not an option, you can take action and help your colleagues who are leading meetings develop some basic meeting facilitation skills.

Meetings don’t have to be bad. In fact, meetings serve a very important role and are used by the most cohesive and collaborative of teams. They could be powerful, important, and impact your company’s revenue positively. Those are the best meetings.

But careless meetings and leaderless meetings can absolutely ruin the productivity of a team or a company. So don’t be afraid to cancel a meeting that is not going to serve a purpose or drive towards a goal.

 

Learn more about improving your meetings

At ReadyTalk, we love meetings and have a lot of information to help you improve communication, collaboration and meetings. Read more about this and other common meeting mistakes and pitfalls including bad organization, lack of concentration, and bad technology. And if you can avoid these, you’ll be on your way to hosting more successful, productive, and purposeful meetings.

Put the Me in Meetings to Save Time and Money

When each of us go to meetings these days, we rarely discuss what we’re looking for or what objective we’re trying to meet. But take any training and the first thing they’ll address after where the bathrooms are — your objectives.

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According to Industry Week 30% of managers said their meetings were unproductive. That’s a high number of dissatisfied people. Especially when you consider that — on average — we spend 26 business days meeting.

Don’t waste your time or others

Your time costs the company money. It’s okay to treat it as important as well as the time of other employees. If you don’t need to be there or have questions, you should ask.

How to Fix Your Scrum MeetingsSo how do you bow out of a meeting without being a jerk? It depends. For open cultures who value honesty and integrity, you can tell someone what you’re looking for. You know they’ll answer honestly and at that point you can ditch the meeting if it’s not helpful. For less open cultures, respond to the organizer and verify you’ll get what you need. Maybe a question like, “I’m hoping we’ll cover ____. Do you think you’ll have time?”

Can it be solved by an email or quick phone call?

We love meetings, but sometimes another communication tool is better. A quick phone call, email or even chat — otherwise known as Instant Message (IM) — may get you the information you need without disrupting the meeting’s agenda.

Monologue or dialogue

Do you need to ask questions? Share information yourself? Or do you need just a status update? That determines whether the meeting host can provide an update or whether you need a two-way conversation — dialogue.

Most meetings are a dialog — two-way or more engagement among attendees and host. Consider whether you need to fully collaborate and whether you have the right tools. Do you need to share your document real-time? Do you need to share your screen?

Stop multitasking

If you need to be at the meeting, give the presenter your undivided attention. If you can’t because of other deadlines or tasks, rethink whether you’re needed.

The data is in — multitasking doesn’t work; it reduces attention to the tasks being performed. CNN indicates that research shows driving while talking or listening can reduce your driving skill by 37%. In fact, the report that only 2% of the population are super multitaskers — people who are effective of doing more than one thing at once.

Need other ideas for improving meetings?

You may hate meetings, but at ReadyTalk we have a passion in making sure your meeting goes off without a hitch.

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