Video conferencing is an essential tool for staying connected, particularly in regional and rural areas. It also enables team members to work remotely, which has been extremely useful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are some tips to enable better video conference meetings:
1. Mute yourself when not speaking
Most microphones can pick up minor background noises, like coughs, sneezes, or typing. These sounds can distract other video conferencing participants, and may even mean they cannot hear the speaker. Staying on mute will reduce this problem.
2. Be on time.
This may sound obvious, as this should be the case for any meeting, but everything is visible by video conference. When you walk in late, you may make noise and distract anyone who is speaking in the room, leading to confusion and stoppages.
3. Ensure your technology works correctly
Technology issues can lead to major delays. This is also why you the second point is important. Either be early to a meeting and ensure your technology is working and you know how to work it – or have someone on hand to fix it or show you how – or check everything in the days leading up to an important meeting. This will ensure all runs smoothly.
4. Use technology to fully engage remote participants.
Make your remote attendees feel like they are part of the conversation. Include them, and ask for their input. Interruptions when they are speaking and being talked over are big issues for remote participants in meetings.
Don’t have side conversations or make jokes that remote participants can’t hear. Exclusion is a big no-no.
5. Choose the proper software and hardware.
Most sites get the hardware right. Choose software that is easy to use and doesn’t need participants to undertake extensive training.
A good comparison of software you can use for video conferencing is available here.
6. Wear work-appropriate clothing.
It’s tempting to wear casual attire when attending a video conference from home. You don’t have to wear anything fancy, but choose something that would be appropriate face to face.
7. Frame the camera correctly.
You don’t want other participants to be looking up your nose or at the side of your face. Position the camera to show your body from the midsection up, and allows you to look at the camera from eye level.
8. Have the light right.
Poor quality lighting makes the picture grainy and unwatchable. Try not to mix natural lighting and office lighting as one or the other will be too bright.
9. Look into the camera.
A common mistake is looking at the video feed instead of the camera when speaking.It actually makes it appear as if you’re looking off screen and not paying attention.Practice this until you are comfortable.
10. Pay attention.
Don’t check your emails or work on other things while in a video conference. It looks rude, and very few people can multi-task effectively.
Source: Owl Labs
We’ve had phones for a long time. You’d think we’d have gotten to be great at phone etiquette. But it is a lot different chatting to your best friend to someone you have never met or barely know. And different generations will have different expectations.
Here’s Five Telephone Communication Skills Tips to help you out:
1. Adopt a positive tone
Projecting an enthusiastic, natural, and attentive tone while on the phone can help the other person feel comfortable during a conversation.
When you answer the phone, smile as you greet the person. A smile can truly be heard through the telephone.
Also, be aware of your vocal qualities throughout the call. Don’t speak too fast, and control your voice pitch.
2. Speak clearly (clear enunciation)
Use simple words and phrases. Don’t use overly complex vocabulary or jargon.
Avoid slang and filler words. If you have a tendency to use filler words such as “um” or “like” practice taking a pause instead.
Chewing gum or eating during a conversation can also lead to mumbled speech so avoid both of these.
And again – don’t speak too fast!
3. Be sincere
Say hello and be genuine. State your name and the company’s name, and offer to help from the outset. Give genuine answers and be positive.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and if you don’t have the information the other person needs to hand, tell them when you will get back to them with it.
4. Use their name
Once you have the other person’s name, use it – but do so correctly (correct pronunciation is essential). Clarify if necessary.
5. Finish the conversation in a positive manner.
Make sure the other person understands any information you have conveyed, or you have given them the assistance they need or may need. Then finish the call in a friendly way.
Source: Skills You Need
You’ve all had it happen. You’ve sent an email that has been completely misunderstood by someone, and they may even have been upset about it. So what can we do to reduce email misunderstandings and errors?
8 Tips for Effective Email Communication
1. Be clear and concise
- Use bulleted points for more detailed emails where possible
- Take your time writing an email to ensure the reader has a clear understanding of your message.
- Be brief. Most people will immediately read a short email. Send them a longer one and there is a risk it will not be read, or at least, not in a timely manner.
2. Read, re-read and read again before sending.
Get into the habit of rereading your entire message before sending it. Most of the time you will notice that you have missed words, used incorrect grammar, and worst of all – ‘words witch our spilled write butt knot used inn the write weigh. Note, that this last sentence runs through a spell checker perfectly.’ (The Telephone Doctor)
3. Copy back relevant points when replying to an earlier message.
Which of these messages has the greater chance for reader confusion?
“Sure, that’s fine.”
“Sure, that’s fine.”
You wrote: “Hi Sharon, Is it possible I could take two hours of TIL next Friday afternoon? I have a dental appointment.”
4. Use specific subject line descriptions.
An email may go back and forth to multiple people over multiple days, so it is important that people know just what is in the email trail.
Spam and anti-spam software can send your email thread to spam due to a poorly worded subject line. So ensure your subject line EXACTLY describes the content, but does not contain words or phrases that may be deemed inappropriate!
5. Realise that once your message is sent, it’s difficult to recall.
There is limited technology available to recall a message.
Always double-check the recipient line before sending any email, including the ‘Copy’ line. Sending to ‘ALL’ should be discouraged.
Never put in writing something that a reasonable person would consider to be inappropriate. Imagine that the person you are writing about could see your message. Stick to facts, not opinions, and be tactful.
6. Practice the 24-hour rule when you’re upset.
It’s never a good idea to send an email when you’re angry.
If you compose an email in anger, wait a a day if possible before sending it. You will not be able to be objective when you are too close to the issue. Most of the time you will be glad you waited to send an inflammatory email and toned things down – this perspective can only come with additional time.
7. Avoid sh-cuts and abbr. in biz email msgs.
Use of abbreviations, especially those that are not universally understood (and no matter what you may think, they are not) is not advised in a workplace setting. What is alright with one person can be seen as inappropriate by another. Since a casual message could easily be forwarded to others, it’s best to maintain a high level of professionalism no matter who you’re writing to.
8. Don’t Forward Viral Messages.
If you are the recipient of an email message you think may be harmful, test it in this way: Copy and paste a few words from the message into Google along with the word “hoax”. If your search shows posts claiming the message is a fake, save everyone some time and pain by pressing ‘delete’. The same rule applies to jokes and pictures which would be seen as inappropriate by your employer or other staff.
Source: The Telephone Doctor