Planning For Effective Video Meetings

in Productivity, Technology

It looks like coronavirus is here for the long haul and despite lockdowns being lifted – and reintroduced – the bean counters in companies are looking at the advantages of ditching large, corporate headquarters and allowing employees to work from home.  Total breaking up of the workforce is not always possible, but one London company is actively looking at ditching its expensive West End office, working out where geographically its employees live and creating regional hubs for presence meetings between the team and the clients.

Many years ago, I handled the public relations for a London-based virtual office company and then took on the marketing communications for is international counterpart The Global Office Network. Whether or not these virtual offices can handle a surge in business I have no idea, but I can predict the big property landlords are going to catch a cold. The proliferation of services such as Zoom, Webex and Google Meet means that working from home does not equate to working alone, but there is a fair bit of groundwork to be done before video meetings can operate satisfactorily.

Check Broadband Speeds

The first thing employees need to do is run a speed check using a service like to see if their broadband network is up to scratch and being able to connect effectively and without buffering. Living in a large city or urban conurbation does not guarantee superfast broadband.

If your broadband speed is not compatible with the full virtual conferencing experience, most services allow audio connections at a lower bandwidth.

Another option is to hardwire your computer to your router as better speeds can often be achieved this way than on Wi Fi. Also, ask other members of the household to stop binge-watching Netflix while your online meeting is being held!

It may well be that as a cybersecurity policy you have been given a virtual private network (VPN). Because this pushes your Internet traffic through multiple servers, it can slow access speeds down, so consider turning VPN off for the duration of the meeting.

Send Files Pre-Meeting

Meetings often involve files. While most video conferencing services allow sharing files within the online meeting, they can gobble up bandwidth and affect the quality of the video call. So, if it is a formal meeting (as opposed to a casual chat) there will be agendas, so incorporate files and documents to be discussed with the email sending agendas out.

Finally, work out a policy for running the meeting itself. If everyone tries to talk at once not only does this often lead to misunderstandings but it can lead to meetings being longer than they need to be.  Some companies run a “talking stick” policy borrowed from North American Indians whereby people attending the virtual pow wow can only talk when the stick is handed to them.  Today’s equivalent is putting up your hand to ask to speak.

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