In this episode of the Smarter Building podcast, we caught up with Robert Kumapley, the Chief of Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Program at The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ), on the challenges and advantages of implementing an asset management strategy.
Top tips on how to host your next video conference call from RingCentral
Whilst video conferencing has become the norm for how we communicate in our office lives, that doesn’t mean we always get our online meetings right. Here's a few tips from our partner RingCentral on how to host your next video conference call.
Video conference call tips for hosts
Working remotely has never been easier with the rise of unified communications as a service tools (UCaaS) such as video conferencing. As the pandemic has shown us, we can’t always meet face-to-face, but video conferencing in a digital environment has made an ideal collaboration platform.
We’ve all experienced bad conference calls with background noise, echoes, bad lighting, interruptions from children and pets, slow connections, pixelated video, quiet audio, and, of course, the dreaded mute button. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Whilst investing in video conferencing software like RingCentral VoIP and hardware will smooth out any potential technical issues, being a well-prepared host is essential to ensure your meeting goes off without a hitch. If you want to make sure your virtual meetings run a little smoother, read on for our partner RingCentral’s guide to hosting a video conference.
Decide on the type of call you are hosting
Is it a meeting, a workshop, or a conference? You need to plan this in advance, just like any offline meeting. A team meeting should have a chair, an agenda, and a note-taker.
For a workshop, you should be familiar with whiteboard and collaboration tools; and for a conference, you’ll need to know how to use group breakout rooms and share presentations.
It's also important to consider if the conference call is customer facing or not. If it is, try to make it more formal and have your branding featured. If not, try to keep it more casual and have a chat with your colleagues before diving into the meeting agenda.
Allocate someone to help if technology fails
How many times has your internet dropped while you have been speaking on a video call? It is frustrating for both the speaker and the listeners and you often don’t even know it has happened so end up speaking to yourself for a few minutes.
If you are the chair or the main speaker, allocate someone to take over from you if something fails, so participants aren’t wasting time while you’re trying to reconnect. If this is a consistent problem for you, consider connecting directly to the internet with an Ethernet cable as it can make calls much more stable.
Alternatively, make sure you have a phone handy so you have the option to dial into the meeting.
Be conscious of bandwidth use
Technology problems with video conferencing typically happen due to slow Wi-Fi connections. This was especially difficult when the nation had to take on the role as teacher as well as their day jobs. Now that children are back to school and non-essential business have opened, this might not be as big an issue for everyone anymore, however it's still important to find ways to save bandwidth.
If you are having problems, avoid using both video conferencing and screen sharing at the same time. You can also try sending the agenda and any associated documents for the meeting in advance so as not to slow down your internet connection by trying to screen share while the meeting is live.
Alternatively, ask participants to mute their audio and/or turn off their videos. This will save your internet the extra work involved with streaming so much at once.
Remember good video conferencing etiquette
- Mute your microphone when you are not speaking and remember to engage with the meeting – don’t multitask, unless you’re taking notes. Just remember to unmute yourself when you need to speak!
- Always tell people if the meeting is to be recorded.
- Consider your background. A blank wall is best to reduce distractions, but if that’s not possible, you could blur your background or add an image with your company logo.
- If someone else is using video conferencing in your home or office, always check their microphone is off before offering them that cup of tea.
- If someone is in the middle of speaking and you receive a delivery or need to step away quickly, turn off your video and let them know in the chat function rather than interrupting them.
- Don't dive straight into the meeting agenda. Many people are in back-to-back video calls all day. Allow some time before the meeting for people to run to the toilet, make a drink or just have a general chat first.
Practice using collaboration tools
Today’s video conferencing tools like RingCentral VoIP come with file and screen sharing options, as well as whiteboarding capabilities, offering the ability to collaborate with colleagues live. If you plan to use these tools, it’s important to get an understanding of how they work. Make sure you and your team have a training session and try it out ahead of the meeting.
If hosting a conference, make sure you have ironed out the technical requirements of the presenters beforehand eg are they planning on playing any videos/music etc?
Utilise the chat function
Video conferencing software like RingCentral VoIP also offers a live chat function that can be used for comments, questions, and crowdsourcing, as well as sharing links.
If your meeting isn’t being recorded nor formal minutes taken, then the chat can also be used to record any actionable points. Most video conferencing software will even save your chat history.
Although the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK means that there may be a glimmer of hope for more face-to-face meetings, it's clear that video conferencing is here to stay as the hybrid-office emerges.