This post is an excerpt from my book DISTRIBUTED.
You want to have everyone being productive from any location they want. That’s the idea. It’s all about focusing on the collaborative infrastructure of the company, like how people work together, or how they collaborate.
If you want to ensure maximum impact and efficiency during your video calls, I reckon these few tips will get you to a good start.
BEFORE THE MEETING
When setting up your meeting, you need to keep in mind that not everyone can make the time that suits you. No one likes having a meeting at 6 am or 10 pm when they have commitments to family or other interests outside of work – like sleeping.
DURING THE MEETING
Have a rock-solid internet connection. The faster, the better. But connections speed is only a part of the whole picture. Connection stability can be even more important. However, keep in mind that many remote employees like to travel to places where fast internet isn’t always guaranteed, and Wi-Fi might be spotty and unpredictable.
Mind your background. Remember that the camera is not just focused on your face but shows parts of the room you’re in. Pre-check the frame before starting the video call and if your kids are at home, make sure they know when they can’t disturb you.
The perfect angle. Another piece of the puzzle would be to adjust the positioning of your webcam. Weird camera angles can be very distracting. Keep it along the same line of sight as your eye level. It is generally the best possible angle that feels the most natural––and looks the best.
Look into the lens. It is also important to make sure that you are looking into the camera lens directly and not at your computer screen. When your eyes are off access to the webcam, it is much less compelling.
Out of the dark. When using a webcam, remember that the human eye sees a lot more than a video camera. Just because you can see everything clearly with a little bit of natural light, doesn’t mean that on video it will look good. This is why you should always try to add additional light when using a webcam. You’ll be surprised at how much eliminating shadows can add to your video’s overall look and feel.
Make yourself heard. If you are using a webcam, you need to pay attention to how you capture audio. The first step is to avoid having your speakers on when talking or your audio will come through with an echo and a harsh reverb tone to your voice that makes you hard to understand. I recommend you to use some kind of external microphone connected to your computer or laptop, and be sure to place that microphone as close to your mouth as possible. By moving the mic close, you lose a lot of environmental noise and get a crisp clear audio track that helps to keep people listening.
AFTER THE MEETING
After your meeting, you’ll want to follow-up to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Considering that it is more difficult to communicate as a remote team in comparison with in-person teams, your follow-up note should be as clear and actionable as possible to avoid time-consuming email threads that are inevitable if there’s a misunderstanding.
As you can see, virtual meetings don't have to be labeled as a waste of time. In fact, they can be more valuable than traditional face-to-face meetings. These video calls are the best way to create concrete weekly goals for workers and set your business up for success. But avoid a constant emergency or ad-hoc meetings, as these can break flow during an employee’s regular day.
Communication is the backbone of a well-functioning distributed business model. Remote teams must have excellent communication strategies to survive and thrive. Mastering video calls and online meetings is a must for every distributed business.
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At Anywhere Consulting, we help entrepreneurs to launch, build and grow their remote business. We provide support and consulting services as well as educational products to overcome the challenges of remote businesses. If you are a freelancer who wants to launch a distributed business or you already have an established business but want to grow remotely, we can help you.