Have you ever thought about using technology to reduce your travel costs or time spent on the road?
For example, video-conferecing instead of travelling to meetings can mean avoiding traffic and long days. Online resources and apps can help you plan your journey, using the fastest or most direct routes. Or you can set up a ‘home office’ for days when your work schedule allows you to work from home.
Technology-based alternatives to travel have helped Vodafone Ireland achieve a 45% reduction in air travel emissions in just one year.
Vodafone Ireland has expanded its video-conferencing facilities from 3 rooms to 12, and high quality videoconferencing facilities are now available to all staff.
The company is also piloting the use of web conferencing (all staff have access to computer webcams and headsets) and online moderated discussion workshops
With the help of appropriate staff training, alternatives to travel such as video and web conferencing are now part of ‘business as usual’ at Vodafone Ireland.
Video conferences are a great way to save money, time, and energy while still getting as much or more work done than before. It has really taken off as an attractive option when communicating with friends, colleagues, and clients.
Despite its simplicity, there are many things you can do to – or not do – to ensure a great virtual meeting.
1. Give and take — questions and answers — are the bedrock of communication. In a video conference, you are hampered by not having everyone in front of you. This is especially apparent when you ask a question, as it is sometimes difficult for your participants to know who you are talking to. Make sure you say a person’s name at the beginning of your question.
2. An issue specific to virtual meetings is the mute button. The microphones pick up every noise. This includes side conversations, rustling papers, moving chairs, etc. Your noise may cut out the audio. Mute buttons are essential to having a well-ordered and quiet meeting, and their use should be encouraged. However, they can slow up Q&A sessions, especially impromptu ones. When you ask someone a question, make sure you give them a few seconds to respond. This allows them time to unmute themselves.
3. Couch your questions to address the least amount of responses. For example, don’t ask if everyone understands; ask who doesn’t understand.
4. Video conferencing technology is hi-tech, but that just means it will do what it is supposed to. Speak in a normal tone of voice. Don’t worry, they will hear you. If you can’t help but worry that people can’t hear you, test your sound first. Get your participants to introduce themselves at the beginning of the conference. Not only will this help break the ice, but will also allow you to hear their volume and sound quality.
5. It may feel counterintuitive, but you shouldn’t look very often at the people on your screen, especially when you are addressing them. The best place to look while speaking is directly into the camera lens. Your participants will get the impression that you are looking directly at them. This creates a more trustworthy, congenial experience between them and you.
6. Movements are exaggerated on camera; to help you hit your “mark,” use your mouse as your anchor point. Hold on to the mouse naturally while setting up your camera. Then, as you move back and forth pay attention to how far your arm bends or straightens. When you’re live, you’ll be able to keep yourself seen.
7. When creating presentation materials such as agendas, charts, Power Point presentations, etc. use large fonts to compensate for best results. Avoid fonts that are smaller than 14pt. Courier can be difficult to see.
8. Your clothes say a lot about you.. To provide the best view of you, try to dress in light pastels and muted colours. Bright, loud colours can make your skin look strange on screen. Busy patterns too are something to avoid.
9. While your clothes are telling your participants about you, so is the spot that you chose to do your conference from. Other than the obvious point that what you have on your desk and behind you will make impressions on your participants, they can also be detrimental to your video quality. Try to have a clean or bare background with a neutral colour. Keep all camera-visible areas neat and decluttered. Not only will you look better on screen, it says something about how you work.
10. Just like a “live” meeting, appoint a meeting facilitator, send agenda and materials ahead of time and set clear objectives regarding what will be accomplished in the session and communicate them to participants.
Back to top