Tips for Hosting better Video Conferences

As the host of a video conference, you have a range of responsibilities that go beyond those you might be used to when organising physical meetings. In recent months, organisations have gone remote all over the world and teams have had to find new ways of working together. Most workforces will be using some form of video conferencing tool such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Whether you’re hosting internal meetings or outward facing multi-speaker events, these tips will help you run things more efficiently.

Technical considerations

Whilst by now it is likely the majority of your attendees will be relatively comfortable using video conferencing software, it is still good practice not to assume that everybody has a high level of proficiency. People of all ages may find video calling stressful and your role as host or organiser extends to making sure everybody has what they need to feel comfortable. Encourage attendees to check the following areas before joining either your meeting or speaking at your virtual event.

Lights, camera…

Getting the lighting right is key to communicating well. Too bright or too dark and your face can be obscured, affecting people’s ability to focus on what you’re saying. Aim for dispersed light, ideally from a natural source. Adjusting your webcam to find the most flattering angle is also worth taking a few minutes to sort. A general rule of thumb is to position it just above your eye line but try a few options to find what’s best for you.

Get a change of scene

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Making your virtual meetings and conferences memorable is really important when there are so many calls on people’s attention, particularly in the digital realm. An easy way to do this is to vary the visual experience for your attendees by encouraging them to use virtual backgrounds (https://www.hellobackgrounds.com/zoom-backgrounds). This can be carefully planned or left to individual choice depending on the context. In general, backgrounds are great for maintaining privacy and hiding that untidy living room, but they can also be useful tools for increasing engagement making your session a memorable one.

Planning is key

Virtual meetings tend to take a bit more organisation than physical meetings. They are less spontaneous and can be inefficient if not run carefully and clearly. Circulate any pre-reads well in advance and make sure the timeline for the session is clear. This can be anything from a meeting agenda to a full webinar timetable for your attendees. Without a solid sense of what is happening when, it is easy to lose people’s attention.

Record and share

For virtual conferences and meetings, the ability to record your session is a useful feature which should be deployed when appropriate. For remote teams, recording calls can increase transparency and allow people to catch up on meetings they’ve missed. For larger multi-speaker events, recording sessions can provide content for future promotions or social media channels to build your following. If you’re holding rehearsals for a public-facing event, record the rehearsal to provide backup in case of last minute cancellations. You can also drop short clips from this session into your promotional materials.