The golden rule: don't throw yourself in the deep end
When it comes to online meetings and video conferencing the best piece of advice is to familiarise yourself with the platform you'll be using well before your call takes place.
Join your meeting link with a friend or colleague and test everything out. You’ll be able to see first-hand what the experience is like for your Guests and make any required adjustments to your settings.
Get your software in ship-shape
Even the most tech-savvy among us can find ourselves using out of date software from time to time.
- Check that the operating system on your device is up to date.
- Make sure you’re using the latest version of your Internet browser - You can find out here.
Test your microphone, camera and screen-sharing
- Get any permission issues out of the way by ensuring your conferencing software is permitted to access your microphone, camera and screen;
- If you’re using an external camera, microphone or speakers that’s fine, but make sure you've tested the connections beforehand.
Check your Internet connection
You might have the latest laptop on the market but if your Internet connection isn't great your video call is going to suffer. Check your connection before your call.
- For the best experience, your download and upload speeds should be between 3 and 5 megabytes per second (Mbps).
You can check your Internet speed at speedtest.net.
Don’t make it hard for your device
Your device’s processing power is often reduced when it’s not plugged into the mains. Web conferencing can be fairly demanding on your system so try to stay on-charge where possible.
Close unnecessary tabs
We’re all guilty of it - having lots of tabs open in your browser can lead to a poor video calling experience. Ease the burden on your web browser by closing things down beforehand.
Time to get some headphones?
It’s not antisocial to wear headphones during a video call!
To maintain the best audio experience for everyone, headphones are generally recommended, and some include clever noise-cancelling technology to help reduce unwanted background noise.
Make a good impression by being aware of your immediate environment.
- Try to avoid noisy rooms and outdoor spaces if possible;
- Check what’s behind you if you’re on video! A tidy office makes for a tidy mind;
- Try to orientate yourself so that any light source is directed at you from behind your device.
- Consider ways to break the ice if you're meeting for the first time and try to fill any awkward silences with natural small talk;
- Timing is everything (be tactful about when to speak and when to hold back);
- Choose your clothing appropriately. Very few video meetings require smart dress but you probably want to avoid pyjamas! Keep it smart casual for most meetings.
Modern virtual meeting solutions allow you to mute your line until you need to speak. If everyone is advised to do this the chance of unwanted background noise is reduced.
Consider automatic muting
- If you’re hosting the call, you have the option to set things up so that your Guests are automatically muted when they join. You retain ultimate control and can unmute individual Guests who wish to speak. More information.
Agenda, notes, meeting minutes
- Even if you only spend 10 minutes on it, write down the key points you’re planning to discuss so that you don’t forget to cover certain topics.
- Be prepared to take notes. There’s nothing worse than a colleague reeling off some important information whilst you scramble for a pen and paper!
Hungry for more?
Get even more tips and advice for online meetings with our ultimate checklist.