Video conferencing has become one of the most effective forms of long distance communication in today’s business world. Prior to the introduction of smartphones and tablets, the only way to use video conferencing effectively was to either use a personal computer or some high end telecommunication hardware. But with the advancing technology of mobile devices, video conferencing has become easier to use than ever before.
Almost every device that has some form of wireless capability that can be used as a platform for a video conference regardless of the participant’s comparative locations. Yet, when compared to a phone call or a text, video conferencing is a different enough form of communication that you need to take into account a different sort of etiquette. When preparing for an important mobile video conference, there are a few particular details you should keep in mind.
Background and Location
When using a mobile device for a video conference, you need to be aware of what’s behind you at all times. If you’re outside, sudden light sources can cause massive glare that is distracting and annoying for the other participants. Staying aware of your background also means dealing with background noise. If you’re in a busy location or there are loud noises around you, your phone or tablet’s microphone might be able to pick that up. Transmitting the construction going on behind you during a conference is a great way to get yourself some angry colleagues. The University of California’s Communication Services highly suggests making friends with the mute button. Whenever you wish to say something, unmute your microphone, but otherwise keep it muted at all times. This will drastically cut back on any background noise and avoid annoying your fellow conference attendees.
Hardware and Angles
A nice aspect of using a mobile device for video conferencing over a stationary one is the ease with which you can adjust your camera. With a smartphone, all you have to do to adjust any angles is to tilt your hand slightly, whereas a computer requires you to mount the camera and set it up beforehand at just the right angle. Regardless of how easy it is, keep your hand as steady as possible, or mount your phone. If the other participants see a really shaky picture of your face on their screen, they probably won’t be happy. Mobile Office suggests you do any calibration prior to your meeting and avoid sudden movements as your image will become distracting and blurry to the other participants.
Lighting is incredibly important. Too little and your face will be difficult to make out in the heavy shadow. Too much and there could be massive glare. If you’re outside, your capability to deal with less than ideal light conditions can be difficult. However, you should do all in your power to create an environment with good lighting when you can. Test your video and adjust window blinds and lamps until you’re positive you have the best quality picture for your location. If you don’t have blinds or lamps or light sources you can deal with, try to make do with whatever’s at hand to reduce glare.
It might seem like a minor issue, but what you’re wearing can make a big impact on the other participant’s impression about you. As much as people try to avoid living up to the “don’t judge a book by its cover” mantra, there are plenty of people out there who do. Northwestern.edu suggests wearing neutral or muted colors and avoiding anything overly bright or ostentatious. Polka dots, plaid, and stripes along with bright colors can cause distracting effects on screen. You want to keep everyone focused and on task and outspoken clothing can cause problems. Even though it’s not a face-to-face meeting, dress to impress. Dressing well will not only give a better impression to the other conference participants, but it will likely give you a boost in self-confidence as well. It’s also a good idea to avoid flashy jewelry and other accessories as the reflections could be annoying.
Whether you are hosting the conference or just taking part, you should always treat the conference as though you were sitting around a conference table face-to-face. Just because you and the other participants are meeting with the help of a program like Blue Jeans Video Conferencing and are thousands of miles apart doesn’t mean you or anyone should be uncivil. If you’re discussing business with partners or clients from around the world, remember that they may be from another culture that has different morals, customs, and etiquette. As long as you are respectful and stick to the business at hand you should never have problems with any video conferences. If you make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and are considerate of your fellow conference goers, all should turn out great.