Video conferencing – Like it or hate it but video calling is the future. Here are some practical tips on how to get the best
Even when we get out of lock down people will probably realise its preferable to have a Zoom call instead of travelling for hours to get to a short meeting.
There are times when face to face is better, but why not savour those times and work on line when its’s practical?
Ask the “No” group of people and you will hear that you cant read body language. The view is just a head shot and you cant tell what people are feeling.
Ask the “Yes” group of people and they will tell you they save time but still get face to face when needed.
Either way, it’s here to stay so lets find out how to get the most out of it.
We think that the answer is kit.
With a larger monitor you sit further back when conferencing. This means you end up in a more comfortable position. As a result you are more relaxed and have a more positive approach to the meeting.
Because you are further from the camera the people at the other end get to see more of you and suddenly body language is easier to read.
The image you see is closer to a normal size so you feel happier talking to somebody across the desk.
Personally I have a 27″ monitor attached to my laptop for this. A reasonable monitor costs around £135.
Use a wall mount for the monitor.
This will mean that the monitor can be pushed out of the way when your not using it, and you can move it around to get the most comfortable position when on line.
Sometimes you want the monitor closer to do detail work but pushed back when conferencing. Expect to pay between £20 and £50 depending on the weight of your monitor.
Get a great Web cam.
Personally I use a Logitech C922. It cost just over a £100 but what a difference. It tracks your body, so that as you move or swing in your chair you are still sat centre stage!
The image is full HD (high definition) and so the other end gets to see a very clear picture. (Have a hair cut because you can see individual hairs!).
It has an auto focus lens so that if you move even further back you stay in focus.
Obviously this improves the image that other people see, but its then easier to have a more detailed meeting and you get more out of that too.
Use a good headset with microphone
At Andisa we all use Sennheiser wireless headsets. These have noise cancelling so background noises are filtered out.
They are light, have a good earpiece and you free up both hands. It means that on line you don’t cause that horrible echo.
If you turn your face away from the computer your voice doesn’t fade out.
In fact in longer meetings you can get up to use the water fountain and still hear what is happening in the meeting.
This option alone makes it so much easier to have a natural conversation. They are around £160 each including the base station.
Make sure you buy the “Lync USB compatible” version of DW10 Sennheiser model.
We have recently trialled the Jabra Panacast boardroom cameras. These are cool. They combine the images from 3 integrated cameras to give a panoramic view of the room so that everyone at a board table can participate in the same conference. This is a high end option costing around £600 but the difference in performance when everyone in the room can be seen in full HD is remarkable. You no longer have to huddle at one end of the desk to be picked up on the camera, you can use your notepad and pen more easily and life just gets better.
Positioning and Lighting
Don’t forget that your own comfort often has a direct impact in the quality of any meeting. Make sure that you look presentable (no PJ’s!). Have an uncluttered background and make sure there are no rude pictures in sight.
Have a diffused light in front of you and don’t have too bright a light behind. The diffused light will mean its not too bright in your face and will avoid the shadows that look like double chins.
Avoiding bright lights from behind will make the camera give better colours and you wont appear washed out, and shouldn’t get a halo or shine over your head.
As humans we crave contact but in the modern world we need to make the best out of every contact. Being comfortable yourself and sending HD images to everyone else really helps your time on line.
So the answer is quality tech designed for the purpose and a good position / lighting. Remember when we were taught to write? We were told to make sure it was neat and presentable so that we communicated clearly and would be understood. The same lesson is valid for the newer methods of communication too!
Prices don’t have to be that high and you can buy each item individually to spread cost. Call us if you want to discuss what else we use, or if you want practical coaching.