It is important to be a perceptive leader. Keeping the conversation focused and encouraging others to engage is key to a successful video conference.
- You're sitting at home or in your office and so is everyone else who has dialed in for the video conference. But the reality of this setup is it's much easier for you and everyone else to get distracted while video conferencing because nobody is physically around you. There isn't someone standing in front of you talking, nor is there anyone sitting next to you. So if this is the environment you're working with, how can you keep it interesting and engaging? The answer is being tuned in and finding opportunities to encourage everyone to speak up. As an executive, this is where being perceptive of others and the situation really matters. Because everyone is in different places, executives have to really listen and watch other people's faces on the screen to see their reaction and gauge the dynamics. As a leader, you're in charge of directing the flow of the conversation, meaning when it starts to go off-topic, you have to reel it back in so the appropriate topic gets discussed. Because you're not standing in front of the room like in a typical meeting and people can't look at you for direction and guidance, it's even more important to speak up when it's time to adjust and redirect. Like any meeting, straying off-topic naturally happens, and it will also likely happen in a video meeting. Also, if there is a debate happening and people aren't hearing one another speak any longer, it's important for leaders to speak up and calm the situation down. A good way to establish executive authority is to deploy hand signals on camera. Before the meeting, you can let everyone on the video call know that if they see you doing a hand signal like waving at the screen, that's a sign for everyone else to stop talking. Sharing this before you start the meeting allows people to understand what the signal means when they see it, because again, once people start talking over each other, especially in a video conference, it can be difficult for others to hear. In addition, there may be situations where there isn't much natural engagement at all and nobody knows what to say. As a leader, it's important for you to take that as a cue to transition topics or to start asking questions to keep the meeting engaging. Feel free to direct questions at certain people who are qualified to speak. Oftentimes people want to speak at meetings, but because it's video conferencing and it's not an environment they're used to, they might shy away. So encourage others to speak by posing a question. Like all good meetings, ending the conference by asking if anyone has any questions is really important because it shows, though you're all in different places, you're still considering other people's opinions, especially if they didn't have a chance to speak up. An effective leader is aware of everyone even when they're not in the same room.
Learn how to shine on video conference calls. Communication consultant Jessica Chen provides expert advice to look and sound confident, collected, and smart on your next conference call or video presentation. Discover how to prepare your material, how to contribute to the call, and how to incorporate engaging visuals. Get body language, posture, and wardrobe tips to make a powerful impression. Finally, learn the technical details to building a mini "studio" for conducting calls, including choosing a webcam, lighting yourself, and placing a microphone for quality sound.
- Recall the characteristics of an effective PowerPoint used during a video conference call.
- Explain why you might look at the screen, rather than the camera lens, during a video conference call.
- Recognize the best strategy for positioning a laptop and its camera for the most flattering and engaging look.
- Tell why a salesperson might use a pull-down backdrop screen during video conferencing.
- Summarize the leadership skill used to make sure all attendees are on the same page after a video conference.