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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. 

Remote employees: Your most-engaged workers

Let's look at that title for a second. Remote employees, your most-engaged workers? Aren't they just scattered across the globe doing who knows what?

Well, we beg to differ. Remote employees really can be your most engaged workers when you've got the right collection of tech in the toolbox. Sure, you may have not believed that sentiment 10 years ago, but we've come a long way since then. If we can now have pet food delivered by drone via the tiny computer in our pocket, we can take the "remote feeling" out of remote work.  

Trust + tech
Telecommuting arrangements are kind of like trust falls – have faith in your long-distance employees to get their work done, and you create a positive and synergistic relationship between you and your talent. Remote workers are more productive, according to the Association for Talent Development, while a study by research firm Future Workplace found that they're also more engaged

Now, we know trust falls and secret weapons don't really go together, but companies have one when it comes to employing remote workers: technology.

Without using smart systems to engage your remote workers, you could have a team of far-flung employees who you only hear from once a year, like some kind of corporate meteor shower that people prophesize about.

To avoid this – and to make sure your remote workers are über-engaged – there are three technologies you should take advantage of:

1. Hosted voice
Long gone are the days of every employee using the same company-issued phone and computer. When the cloud rolled in, it also brought with it hosted voice, a business phone service that enables unified communication, no matter the device people are using or the location they're calling from. 

2. Video conferencing
Don't think of remote workers as sepia-toned versions of their Gmail profile pics. Instead, engage with remote workers just as dynamically as you would with in-office employees with HD video conferencing. Hey, you could even create a little army of "Mobile Virtual Presence Devices" for each of your remote workers à la Sheldon Cooper, we won't stop you.  

3. Webcasts 
Remote workers being out-of-touch with what's going on with the company is so 2010. Webcasts keep telecommuters in the loop through live-streamed quarterly meetings, conferences and team-building events. 

These tools can help you make remote workers seem closer than ever and see engagement skyrocket for your telecommuting talent. 

It’s All About Video

Video killed the radio star.

I’m old enough to remember the day MTV began. Although I was in my tweens and my parents wouldn’t spring for the extra money to get the deluxe cable package that included MTV, the Finlands down the street did. All the neighborhood kids were at their house, watching MTV during the countdown, waiting for the first video to appear — the beginning of MTV. I remember it well. The first video played was, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” I was totally blown away. All of us were mesmerized.

video killed the radio starMy parents eventually got the extended package that included MTV. It was amazing, I watched all the events, including the “Thriller” premiere. It ushered in the end, or so I thought at the time, of the radio and spurred every band to ensure they also had a video.

I’m sure Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation remember the introduction of television. Millennials probably recall their first YouTube video. Why? There’s magic there. You can see, you can hear … and you can do both together. Although the radio hasn’t vanished, video has only become more important. We use video to talk with loved ones these days. We even use video for work, to collaborate even from our home offices or cars. If you’re in Marketing, you know video is key to content strategy.

How important? According to recent HubSpot marketing statistics, simply having a video on your business’s landing page can increase consumer conversation rates by an estimated 80 percent. Meanwhile, 43 percent of users expressed that they wanted to see even more videos from marketers. If you want to improve your company’s sales or online engagement levels, you need to begin integrating video into your marketing strategy starting today. Here are a few more statistics to convince you even further:

1. Nearly 50% of users view videos about a service or product before going to a store.

webinarThis statistic shows that if you want to bring people into your store or to your e-commerce website, you should be using videos. After all, another statistics indicates that as many as four times as many consumers would rather watch a product video than read about it. Today’s world is visually driven, which is why your organization should begin taking advantage of this fact.

More people are viewing videos from their mobile devices, too. In fact, 46% of all video is viewed on a mobile device. It’s not just for fun either. More people are on the go, in their car even, and need to communicate. Work should accommodate video on mobile devices.

2. Users collectively watch around 100 million hours of video on Facebook each day.

If you are not using video marketing on social media, you are certainly missing out on a large target audience, as the video consumption of Facebook users makes clear. Additionally, because 82% of Twitter users watch videos on the platform, you need to start leveraging the power of video soon.

3. Execs would rather watch a video than read.

Time-crunched execs have expressed concerns in having the time to read, sometimes even executive summaries. Instead, they listed video as the way they’d prefer communication.

4. Video in an email increases click-through rates by up to 300%.

Email conversions are hard. You don’t have much space to convey why someone should take a look at your marketing much less your product. Video though gets more click-throughs.

5. People recall video … even up to 30 days.

People recall video, even up to 30 days. Some videos, like poor Charlie who bit a finger or Gangnam Style, stick with you long after they’ve been seen. That’s the power of video. HubSpot also noted that comedy, news and music — in that order — are the most popular.

 

Get more info about video and its communication power

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