For most people, the webcam has always been just another feature of their laptop or desktop. However, as more jobs move to become remote, there's a need for people to adopt the new digital lifestyles. Meetings, which are essential for any workplace, are now being held virtually, making it mundane to learn how to set up a video conference.
Fortunately, you don't need tons of experience in video conferencing to get everything right. In this guide, we'll mention everything you need, including some top webinar software you can use and some helpful tips to ensure you have a successful video call. To get familiar with a reliable video conferencing, meetings and webinars software, we also recommend our ClickMeeting review. We reviewed BlueJeans as our latest edition to reliable video conference software lineup here.
How to Set up a Video Conference: 3 Items You'll Need
Before you start setting up conference calls, you need to ensure you have all the items you need. The last thing you want is having to run up and down at the last minute, trying to figure out where everything is. Luckily, you don't need too many things. As long as you have these three items, you are good to go.
1. Connected TV (or multiple displays)
You must ensure that your streaming setup matches the size of your conference room. Depending on the kind of meetings you have, your conference room could either be large or small. To help you make the right decision, always remember that a bigger conference room is going to need a bigger display. If you would like to make a dedicated presentation area, you should consider setting up a dual display.
2. Video Conferencing System
A video conference system will be responsible for sending and receiving video data and displaying it as a live video in the meeting room. Ideally, your system of choice should have a high definition camera and a processing codec for full videos.
Some video conferencing tools, such as GoToMeeting, come with various features, including screen sharing and meeting transcribing and recording. You can even get one with a smart meeting assistant to make it easier for you to conduct, record, and access your sessions later.
3. Conference Phone
Your video conference equipment will not be complete without a conference phone. You'll need a conference phone that allows you to quickly navigate the system, even during meetings. For convenience, choose a touchscreen conference phone that also features a dedicated user interface.
For the best results, consider getting specific video conferencing hardware. This way, you'll be assured of conference phones and microphones with features like echo cancellation, automatic noise reduction, and gain control, all of which help you have clearer audio during the video call.
Why Wireless Screen Sharing is Ideal in the Conference Room
When trying to figure out how to set up a video conference, one of the most significant decisions you'll need to make is whether or not to use wireless screen sharing. There are high chances that the meeting will involve quite a bit if sharing documents, files, and even presentations in some cases.
For the longest time, wired connections have been the way to go. But, with the changing times, and considering you may have to do a bit of back and forth between the conference participants, wireless screen sharing may be a better option. Still not convinced? Here are three significant reasons why you should move away from wired connections for your video conference.
Cords Get Broken
Cords are subject to wear and tear with progressive use. If you are going to hold several conference meetings, you'll have to keep connecting and disconnecting laptops' connections. With time, the cords are going to break, and you can imagine how much of a disaster it's going to be when the video conferencing equipment breaks down during a meeting.
With wireless screen sharing for your conferences, you don't have to worry about broken cords. All you need is some excellent software like this webinar tool we reviewed, and you won't have to hold your breath anytime you physically connect the cords.
2. Dongles Get Lost
Relying on wired connections means that you will have to deal with several dongles. These could be HDMI, DVI, VGA, Thunderbolt, USB-C, you name it. If we are being realistic, you can't possibly install outputs for every dongle in every conference room. Therefore, there are high chances that the dongles will get misplaced or even stolen at some point.
Should this happen, you will likely have someone who cannot share during the conference because they don't have the right dongle. Wireless screen sharing helps to get rid of this problem by getting rid of the need for dongles.
3. Wireless Makes Things Seamless
Workplaces are continuously looking for ways to implement Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in the work environment. Reports show that businesses that opt for this option over wired connections have increased productivity. Employees don't have to slow down their collaboration because of complexities from sharing information using their devices.
By using wireless connections, businesses get to save on time, have better collaborations, and overall share their content in meeting spaces seamlessly. Additionally, wireless connections get rid of any frustrations stemming from connecting to a fragmented video conference.
Additional Tips For Successful Video Meeting
Now that you know how to set up a conference call, you are going to need some tips to ensure your conference call video goes smoothly. It's not rocket science, and even if you have never held a video call before, having the right tips will help ensure that you nail it the first time. If you have no idea how to make the video meeting a success, these four tips below should help.
Get Multiple Lights and Position Them Effectively
One of the things that you need to get right is the lighting. Even if you have an efficient online video camera, you may need extra lighting for other conference members to see you clearly. And if you decide to get some additional lighting, be considerate of the positioning as well.
One of the most common mistakes people make when on a webcam chat is having the light behind them. If you do this, you'll only appear as a silhouette during the conference. Also, placing a bright light directly on one side casts a shadow on the other, so everything drops on that side.
Your best option is to have the light directly in front of you. You could either choose to face the window or place artificial light. If this is still not enough, get some soft bulbs and use them to block out the shadows.
Utilize Visuals to Enhance Participants' Interest
Most meetings, be they physical or virtual, usually end up being boring. If you are the meeting's host, you'll find yourself struggling to keep everyone's attention. If you aren't keen on the meeting, there are high chances that the conference members will drift away, and bringing them back to the meeting will be a hassle.
The best way to ensure that everyone remains interested in the meeting is by using various visuals. You can incorporate some Powerpoint presentations, videos, graphs, live applications, and anything that will encourage live collaboration. All these things help to keep the meeting fresh and lively, so everyone's attention remains in the conference.
Use a Broadcast-Quality Shotgun Mic
During your conference meeting, you want to be heard just as much as you can be seen. When choosing the best video conferencing equipment, you should ensure you have a shotgun mic that is good quality. Sure, your device's microphone will do just fine if you are holding the meeting in a quiet room. You can also use headphones or earbuds that come with a mic. But if you'd like to be even more precise, you should get a broadcast-quality mic.
Should you decide to get an external mic, placing it closer to your face will help clarify the audio. However, ensure you aren't too close to the video conference camera to avoid echoes during the conference meeting.
Be Prepared for the Meeting And Don't Forget to Be Yourself!
Once you have set up a conference call, you need to ensure you are well-prepared in advance. The last thing you want is to have the conference members join in while you are still trying to figure out what you need.
Even if you aren't the meeting's host, ensure you have everything you need, such as pens and notebooks, before the meeting starts. Additionally, if you are going to have some presentations, ensure you have everything in order. If possible, send out meeting agendas to anyone beforehand.
A common mistake that people make is switching themselves up when the conferencing camera goes on. Remember, you are having a meeting with your colleagues. During the session, talk to them just as you would while at the office, or when chatting with them via the phone or texts. Don't forget to be yourself and relax during the meeting so you can all have a seamless experience.
Get Comfortable Seating
Depending on how long the conference meeting is going to be, you want to make sure you are comfortable enough during the entire period. Whether you are the meeting's host or just a conference member, you need to ensure you are not always fidgeting. Not only will you distract the others, but there are high chances you won't be able to follow with the meeting's proceedings.
When you set up a conference call, you should also consider where you'll be sitting. However, be careful not to be so comfortable that you end up sleeping. If you have a home office, perhaps you should use it for the conference meeting. It also displays professionalism on your part.
What's in Your Background?
Most people will forget to check their background before they attend a conference call. Remember that everyone in the meeting can see whatever is in your background, and if you aren't careful, you could end up embarrassing yourself.
Before joining in on a conference call, ensure your background is neutral. As was the case with a comfortable chair, your home office would be the best choice. If this is not an option, you should try to get a quiet, empty room. The other alternative is to hang up a plain sheet or cloth behind yourself to give the impression of a plain background.
Mute Yourself During the Meeting
A common mistake that people make during conference meetings is leaving their mics on even when they are not speaking. Always ensure your mic is muted whenever you are not presenting anything.
If you have a high-quality microphone, there are high chances that it will pick up even the faintest noises. These could be typing, chewing, or even tapping your pen. It would be best if you also asked other conference members to mute themselves. Having several microphones unmuted could result in so much background noise that will only distract the entire meeting.
While at it, ensure you minimize distractions as much as possible, so everyone in the meeting remains focussed. Start by putting your smartphone on silent, or better yet, away from the room entirely. If you are making a presentation during the video call, ensure you mute all notifications such as calendar, email, or anything that may pop up. Less multitasking during business conferences results in shorter meeting times, which is excellent for productivity.
Now that you have learned how to video call, you should have a much easier time during your next conference meeting. Once you have all three needed components ready for the video conference, setting everything up shouldn't take up much of your time. For a much seamless experience, you should consider using wireless connections during the meeting.
Wireless conference meetings provide a better chance for your members to collaborate. In turn, you get to save on time and increase the entire team's productivity. So, why don't you implement the additional tips above when setting up your conference meetings? With a little preparation and some practice, you will be a pro at handling conference meetings within no time.