In our age of social distancing, video conferencing has taken on an unbelievable level of importance. In a matter of months, it has transformed from an occasionally used tool to becoming the method of business communication. Indeed, it has many advantages over real-world interactions. Not just regarding infection control, but also in reducing travel expenditure and carbon emissions.
Yet, the fast-paced nature of the change, means many are still unfamiliar with the ins and outs of video conferencing. As such, the tips and tricks of the software remain widely unknown: until now. We’ve put together a list of the best features of the medium. So, read on to learn how to video conference like a pro!
Have you been on a video call and been distracted by the speaker’s background? Perhaps a dog is running around, or the décor is horrendous. You might even have been nosing at the titles on the bookshelf. Well, if you’re doing it, everyone else is too!
That’s why you need a virtual background. Using green screen technology, these backgrounds disguise your backdrop with an image of your choice. Don’t go for a bland default option. Head over to Hello Backgrounds, for a prime example of virtual background image’s potential. They have everything from verdant, natural scenes to stylish office spaces. So, you can decide the image you want to portray.
In the real world, talking in a meeting is rude. In the virtual world, things are slightly different. People happily chatter away in the background. They may even be saying things others would rather not hear. Don’t criticise your boss or client as the whole meeting listens. Keep it muted.
With muting yourself being as easy as tapping the spacebar, there is no excuse. If you need to speak, give it a tap.
You might also consider your default settings. You can set up your software so that your camera and audio are turned off when you join a call. It will help prevent any unfortunate surprises.
Record the call
In the meeting’s past, you had to be there to get the full effect. Many of us have scanned our way through the meeting’s minutes, struggling to understand the context of what was being said. Nor are colleagues particularly elucidating. You had to sit through the session to understand.
Well, now you can. Almost all video conferencing software comes supplied with the ability to record meetings. So, you can listen back to meeting in perfect detail, hearing everything that was said. These recordings can also be saved for future reference: ideal for clarifying a point of confusion. Or they can be used as training tutorials for new starters. That way, you don’t have to keep re-running the same meeting, over and over again.
Alter speaker view
Back when we held real-world meetings, more attendees called for a bigger room. In a virtual meeting, you can have dozens of attendees with ease. However, it can make how they are displayed confusing. There are two main methods for viewing attendees: speak and gallery. In the former, the camera will flicker back and forth between whoever is the speaker at that moment. It can be confusing following the train of a conversation. Better, at least in large meetings, to switch to the gallery view. Here everyone will be displayed in a grid-like pattern; up to 49 participants can be shown this way, in a 7 x 7 grid. Anymore, and they will split over two screens.
Take the shortcut
It is tiresome to have to click and clatter your way through the various menus and options. To speed up the process, learn the shortcuts and hotkeys. As we’ve already mentioned, the space bar allows you to mute and unmute. But don’t stop there. There are dozens of different buttons to learn when using video conferencing software.
We’ve all rolled out of bed and into a virtual meeting, assuming we’ll be able to sit back and listen. Then, someone calls out our name; we’re asked to go on video. Panic sets in as we realise, we haven’t brushed our hair or put our make-up on: we look a mess.
Little did you know, there’s a digital fix. When using Zoom, check the ‘Touch up my appearance’ box, to enjoy the full effects of the beautifying software. All your blemishes and imperfections will be smoothed and blurred. You might still have to brush your hair, though.
There are tons more aspects to the software waiting to be uncovered. Please don’t wait for someone to show you their tricks. Investigate your video conferencing app, to discover how you could be making the most of the digital experience.