Is your business looking for an effective way to connect with remote workers? Online video calling is an important way for remote teams to stay in touch. But some workers and businesses are still unfamiliar with how to hold an effective video conference call
Even if your business doesn't rely on remote teams today, chances are that they will in the near future. Remote work is an important part of the way most businesses are run. Remote workers can save a business money because there's generally less overhead with a remote worker. Hiring remote workers also gives a company access to a broader and more diverse workforce.
Figures from the United States Census Bureau's American Community Survey indicate that 13.4 million people in the U.S. work from home. In the U.K., recent data from the Office for National Statistics indicated that over 4.2 million people work from home at least some of the time. Those figures, of course, have increased even more in the last couple of years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Good communication is vital to any successful business. Yet, one study found that remote workers often feel left out (Harvard Business Review). Online video calling can help solve communication problems and alleviate feelings of disconnectedness. Online video conferences can also be a means for remote teams to stay in touch and to make sure that the team is on track for meeting goals and deadlines.
In this tutorial, we'll share what you need to know to get started with online video calling for business conferences. We'll start with the tools you need to participate in a video call. Then we'll discuss how to prepare for a video conference call as well as what to do while you're participating in a live conf. call. Finally, we'll touch upon what you should do once your video call is over.
How to Choose the Right Tools for Your Video Call
The tools you need for your online video call vary, but most likely you'll start with web video conferencing software. For an overview of some of the various best video conferencing software options available, study this article:
- 12+ Top Business Web Video Conferencing Software Free + Paid (New Video Review)Laura Spencer21 Mar 2020
Most video conference call software relies on the internet, so make sure that you've got a connection available. You'll also need some hardware tools for your video call, including a:
- Camera. While some video conferencing software will allow you to participate without a camera, you'll want a good webcam if you want to do a face call. For most people, this will be a webcam although you may be able to get by with a camera on your smartphone or tablet. For best image quality, get a webcam with higher resolution. Also, a higher frame rate keeps the image from freezing intermittently.
- Microphone. Some web conferencing software will allow you to participate using a smart device, but if you're hosting the online video conference, you'll want a better microphone so conference participants can hear you clearly.
Be sure to check out the hardware recommendations for the video conferencing software you chose. You can also find some guidelines for choosing good hardware in this article on how to set up a professional webinar:
You may also find this course helpful:
Once you've selected the right tools and equipment, it's time to start preparing for your online call.
How to Prepare for the Video Call
If you want your facetime conference call or other live video call to be successful, you need to be prepared. In this section we'll discuss four areas you should pay attention to:
- using a presentation
Let's look at each area separately.
1. Appearances Matter
The first area you want to pay attention to is how you look. You may be working from home, but if you're participating in a live video call you'll need to look presentable. That means wearing the same sort of clothing you would wear to the office (if you went in) for your video conf. call, but opt for a comfortable version of it keeping in mind the temperature. Here's a short video that discusses on-camera appearance.
Some of these guidelines in this tutorial apply to conference calls as well:
Also, consider what will appear in the call immediately behind you. Is it a cluttered office? A messy bulletin board? A wall filled with posters? All of these could potentially affect how you're perceived. Take a bit of time to spruce up any part of the office that may be visible to the participants of your online call.
2. Create the Right Environment
There's more to having a successful conference call than simply picking the right outfit, though. You also need to make sure that the environment is right before the conference.
Make sure the room you'll be using for the conference call has good lighting. Soft, natural light is the best. But avoid backlighting, which could occur if you sit in front of a window. Ideally, the light source would be positioned behind your computer screen.
You'll also want to make sure that your space is distraction-free. That may mean letting family members know that you'll be on a call (and unavailable) so they don't accidentally interrupt. Also, make sure the ringtone on your phone is silenced for the duration of the call and turn off any notifications you've got set up on your computer or smart devices.
3. Have a Plan
If you've got regular conf. calls scheduled with your team, they may be more or less informal. Unfortunately, unplanned calls can sometimes become rambling and time-consuming, which eats into your productivity and the productivity of your team.
You can save time by planning what will be discussed in advance. If you're hosting the conference call, send out an agenda. But even if you're not hosting the meeting, you can still create a personal list of topics you'd like the team members to discuss. Having such a list can keep the meeting on track.
4. Create a Presentation
A presentation, such as a PowerPoint presentation, is also a good way to present information to team members quickly and efficiently. And many web conferencing tools allow you to integrate a presentation into your video call. An added bonus of using a presentation is that you can send to team members who missed the conf. call as well as to participants after the meeting is over.
If you decide to use a presentation, you'll want to make sure it looks professional. The quickest way to do that is to use a pre-built presentation template such as those available through Envato Elements or GraphicRiver.
Envato Elements is an all-you-can-download service that provides you access to premium creative assets such as presentation templates, WordPress themes, stock photos, and more. GraphicRiver allows you to pay for each asset as you need it.
To learn more about how to create a great presentation, why not download our eBook on presentations: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It's free when you subscribe to the Envato Tuts+ Business Newsletter.
What to Do During the Conf. Call
Once you've got your equipment and planned for your web conference, it's time to have the call. Here are some guidelines to follow on the day of the call:
- Be on time. No one likes an unnecessary wait. If your meeting participants are in different time zones, double-check to make sure that you understand which time zone the meeting invite is based on. If you're hosting the meeting, make the conference line available a little early.
- Pay attention. Just because you're remote (and possibly sitting in the comfort of your own home), doesn't mean the meeting isn't important. Don't try to multi-task by listening to the meeting and performing other work-related or non-work-related tasks at the same time. Give the meeting your full attention.
- Take notes. As you listen, jot down the important points of the web conference call as well as any items that require action on your part. If detailed information such as charts and graphs are presented, ask the presenter if they can email a copy to you after the meeting for your own records.
- Record the conference call. Many web video conferencing tools allow for a web conference call to be recorded. If you're the host, consider setting your software tool to record the online meeting. You can make this available later for team members who couldn't participate in the call.
What to Do After the Video Call
You've just learned how to select the software and hardware you need to participate in or host a live video call as well as how to plan for that call and how to participate in it. But once the call is over, you're not done. There are some follow up tasks you'll need to carry out. Here are a few of them:
1. Send a Thank-you Email
If your meeting wasn't a routine meeting, consider sending a thank-you note afterwards. A thank you note is especially important after an interview—even a web interview call. According to a study from Robert Half, less than a fourth of all interview participants send a thank-you note after an interview. Yet, the same study found that over half of HR professionals find receiving a thank-you note helpful.
But even if your video call wasn't an interview, a thank-you note may still be a good way to make a positive impression if the call involved someone making an extra effort on your behalf. For guidance on how to write a good thank you note email, study this tutorial:
2. Study Your Meeting Notes
Once your live video call has ended, take some time to really study your meeting notes. Pay attention to any items that you didn't understand as well as any items that require action on your part. For items you don't understand, contact the presenter or meeting organizer as soon as possible to get a clarification. Use the tips in this tutorial to write a professional email:
- How to Master Proper Business Email Format - and Avoid Professional DisasterLaura Spencer27 Oct 2020
3. Follow Through on Assignments
For those any tasks that required you to act, be sure to follow through on those required actions. If you're the meeting organizer and you find that meeting participants aren't completing their assigned tasks, the tutorial below will help you write a reminder email:
Go Ahead & Hold Your Live Video Call
We've gone over the hardware and software you'll need for a live video call. We've also discussed how to prepare for a video conference call. Plus, we've talked about what to do during a web call and how to follow through afterwards.
With the guidelines you learned in this tutorial, you know how to set up video calling. Why not start planning one today? (And don't forget to download a premium presentation template from Envato Elements or GraphicRiver to save time.)
Editorial Note: This content was originally published in 2018. We're sharing it again because our editors have determined that this information is still accurate and relevant.