Video conferencing enables remote work to thrive, provided you know how to get the most from your video sessions. Let’s explore some best practices for video conferencing for remote teams to help you maximize every meeting.
- A successful video conferencing strategy starts with aligning hardware, software and meeting spaces.
- Preparing for each meeting ahead of time sets the right expectations and helps each participant make the best use of their time.
- Use visual aids, ask questions and create a welcoming environment to encourage participation.
- Anticipate challenges with video equipment and potential communication barriers.
- Create a positive atmosphere where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.
Everything You Need for a Successful Video Meeting: Hardware, Software & Meeting Space
Successful video conferencing for remote teams starts by aligning your hardware, software and meeting spaces. Here’s how to set a strong foundation for every meeting.
Verify Hardware and Software Compatibility
Consider how your remote teams will access video conferences. For example, do they have company-issued laptops or devices? Do their devices run on Windows or iOS? Device compatibility may impact the video conferencing software you choose (e.g., Microsoft Teams, Zoom).
One of the advantages of using Neat devices for video conferencing is the ability to avoid compatibility issues. Neat devices are designed for video conferencing and can launch a Zoom or Microsoft Teams meeting with the tap of a button.
Select the Most Suitable Platform for Your Needs
Video conferencing software can vary in terms of features, price and functionality. For example, Zoom and Microsoft Teams can create live transcripts of the meeting, while other video software might not. Some platforms may offer whiteboarding, breakout rooms or the ability to join a meeting by phone. Small differences in features could have a big impact on your meetings, depending on your needs.
Consider how your team plans to use video conferencing. Quick one-on-ones might not require as many functions as hour-long working sessions with multiple team members.
Improve Your Internet Connection for Seamless Video Calls
Video conferencing requires a strong internet connection to ensure each participant can be clearly seen and heard. Ideally, your download speed should be between 10 and 25 Mbps and at least 3 Mbps upload speed for a quality video call. You can test your internet speed for free to see whether you might need to upgrade your service.
Design a Comfortable and Professional Virtual Meeting Space
Video conferencing for remote teams means seeing multiple meeting spaces within the same meeting. Each participant should take the initiative in making sure their space looks professional and non-distracting.
Pre-Meeting Preparation Best Practices
Preparation is key in video conferencing for remote teams to ensure everyone’s time is respected. Use these best practices to make the most of each meeting.
Develop a Clear and Concise Agenda Ahead of Time
Know the purpose of every meeting and what you hope to accomplish. Creating an agenda helps you stick to those goals and avoid getting sidetracked. Share the agenda with participants so they can stay focused on the meeting’s purpose, too.
Perform a Thorough Equipment and Connectivity Check
Before each meeting, test your equipment and internet connection. This gives you time to troubleshoot without missing the meeting or keeping your team waiting.
Distribute Relevant Documents and Files Before the Meeting
Send meeting documents, files or other content to participants before the meeting. This way, they’re not seeing these materials for the first time when the meeting starts. This gives them time to review the materials and prepare questions or comments, which can help make the meeting more productive.
Designate Roles and Responsibilities for Participants
Participants can contribute more to each meeting when they know why they’re part of it. Assign roles to each participant so they can make the best use of their time. For example, you might ask one person to take meeting minutes, one to email follow-up action items after the meeting etc.
Conducting an Efficient and Engaging Video Meeting
How you execute a remote team meeting can affect how much you accomplish. Here are some tips to stay on topic and reach your desired outcomes.
Adhere to Proper Video Call Etiquette
If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to provide video call etiquette training so participants feel comfortable in front of the camera. This might include not checking Facebook or email during a meeting and having the camera turned on and not speaking while others are talking (which could affect your live transcript).
Facilitate Participation and Engagement Among Attendees
Video conferencing for remote teams is more productive when participants engage. The meeting leader should make it a point to ask questions, call on participants and make everyone feel like they’re part of the meeting. Also, avoid speaking in a monologue, as this can cause participants to lose interest or tune out while they’re waiting to fulfill their purpose.
Incorporate Visual Aids to Support Communication
Visual aids can help your team stay engaged while adding context to the conversation. Take advantage of built-in tools like screen sharing or whiteboarding to improve communication and collaboration.
Monitor Time to Ensure the Meeting Stays on Schedule
Your agenda should include an estimated meeting duration to keep the conversation on track and help participants plan the rest of their day. During the meeting, pay attention to the time so that the meeting covers all of your objectives and ends on time.
Addressing Challenges and Difficulties in Video Meetings
There’s always a risk of technology not working, participants not arriving on time or other challenges that affect your meeting. Let’s look at how to address common video conferencing challenges.
Tackle Common Technical Issues and Their Solutions
Understand what could go wrong with your video conferencing technology before problems arise. This might be audio issues, webcam quality or not being able to see the participant, for example. Be prepared to troubleshoot common technical issues so that the meeting can move forward.
Manage Virtual Meetings With a Large Number of Participants
For larger meetings, it’s best practice to mute participants unless they are speaking. This prevents small noises from interfering with the main speaker’s audio and reduces the potential for participants to talk over each other. Setting an agenda and providing time to answer questions or hold interactive discussions can also cut back on excessive chatter.
Handle Disruptions and Distractions During the Meeting
Interruptions to the meeting can create delays and take away valuable collaboration time. Meeting leaders can assign someone to interject when the meeting appears to be getting off track. That person may also take notes on what was being said off-topic so that it can be addressed later if needed.
Address Communication Barriers in a Virtual Setting
Video conferencing for remote teams means learning how to communicate in new ways. For many, there’s a learning curve to this process. Recognize and sympathize with potential communication barriers, such as not being aware of a person’s body language or not feeling confident to speak up during a virtual meeting.
Setting communication ground rules and calling attention to these barriers can help participants overcome them. It shows them they’re not alone if they’re struggling to communicate in virtual meetings.
Building and Sustaining Strong Team Connections Remotely
Remote teams thrive when participants feel connected to each other. Here’s how to build a sense of trust and camaraderie without the benefit of in-person interactions.
Cultivate a Positive Team Atmosphere
For remote teams that meet frequently, take time to make introductions. Keep meetings lighthearted when possible and make time for fun. Use positive language, thank participants for their time and end each meeting on a high note.
Encourage Open and Transparent Communication
Remote meetings are more productive when participants feel comfortable sharing their thoughts. Create a safe space where teams feel like no idea is a bad idea. Encourage team members to motivate each other and to listen to each other in an objective manner.
Implement Virtual Team Building Activities
The more teams work together, the more they can learn about each other and build essential trust. Virtual team building can be an effective tool for this, as it gives you an opportunity to break away from the meeting norms and dig deeper into the team aspect. Examples of virtual team-building activities include happy hours, virtual scavenger hunts and icebreaker quizzes.
Express Appreciation and Acknowledge Accomplishments
Accolades can have a domino effect on team morale and productivity. Take time to call out any special achievements and give your team the recognition they deserve.
Creating Better Video Conferencing for Remote Teams with Neat
No matter how you use video conferencing for remote teams, Neat has designed devices and equipment to create optimal experiences for every participant. Features like Neat Symmetry’s auto-framing to keep participants in view at all times and Neat Boundary that blocks unwanted distractions lend to productive team collaboration.
Explore Neat devices and make video conferencing for remote teams a productivity powerhouse.
What are the most common technical issues during video meetings, and how can I resolve them?
Common issues during video meetings include echoes, background noise, webcam quality and accessing the meeting via phone or computer. One way to mitigate these issues is to use a purpose-made video conferencing device like Neat that’s built for optimal audio and video quality and one-touch meeting access. Knowing your software and hardware and what could go wrong can also help you quickly address issues as they occur.
What are some strategies for managing virtual meetings with numerous attendees?
Catering to a large group of remote attendees requires a high level of organization and pre-planning. Things you can do include setting an agenda, providing access to meeting files and resources ahead of time and during the meeting, muting all participants and leaving time for questions or comments.
How can I design a more engaging and interactive video meeting experience for my team?
Keep meeting attendees engaged with visual aids, polls, Q&As and time to share their own thoughts or questions. Avoid speaking in monologues, as this may cause attendees to tune out of the meeting. If you have a presentation or related materials, share those with participants before or after the meeting so they can refer back to them. Some meeting leaders prefer to share them ahead of time so participants have time to come up with questions or feedback.
What techniques can help ensure that my team remains focused and productive during video meetings?
Set meeting objectives and expectations upfront. When your team knows the purpose and their role in the meeting, they’re more likely to participate. Give each person a role, such as taking notes or assigning action items after the meeting. This gives them a reason to stay tuned into the conversation and encourages them to seek ways to add value to the meeting.
What are some innovative ways to strengthen team connections in a remote work environment?
Make time for team building and introductions, especially if the same team members will be working together frequently. Making it mandatory to turn cameras on allows each person to match faces and names. Having one-on-one conversations with team members can also help you learn more about them as a person.
Virtual meetings: 10 best practices for remote teams. Switchboard.
100 BEST Virtual Team Building Activities Ranked. Quizbreaker.