This post was originally published on the Prezi Blog by Spencer Waldron, the EU Regional Manager in Marketing here at Prezi.
Video conferences are already a way of life in the office, but when everybody’s working from home, it can be harder to find ways to keep working cohesively as a team. Make sure you have the right processes and tools in place to ensure that you’re all on the same page. Read on for 5 tips to improve your video conferences — no matter where you’re working from.
Be human, and make a connection
Turning on your camera is one of the easiest things you can do, so do it! After all, it’s not a video meeting without, well, video. When you speak from behind a picture (or worse, the default avatar), your colleagues miss out on helpful body language and facial cues. This can result in wandering attention spans or even miscommunication. A recent study conducted by CensusWide Research found that two-thirds of UK office workers view a human connection as vital during conference calls.
Even when you are on the screen, that human connection can be lost anytime you share your screen. Use Prezi Video to keep your visuals and text on the screen next to you, so that you can convey information without feeling disconnected from your team.
What is Prezi Video?
Prezi Video is a video maker that puts you alongside your content, so you’re no longer forced to choose between showing your face and showing your visuals. You can get started in minutes and start presenting with your favorite video conferencing tools, including Webex, Zoom, GoToWebinar, and more.
Find the right light
Just as being on camera is important, so too is being able to see someone once they’re on screen. Avoid having your light source behind you, as that’ll make it difficult to see your facial expressions. Face the light — natural or not — and put your best face forward.
If someone’s talking to you in person, it’d be rude to pull out your phone and start checking your notifications. So why should this be different for video conferences? Give your colleagues your attention when they’re speaking — they’ll appreciate it, and you also won’t miss any key information. Don’t worry, your emails and Slack messages can wait a few more minutes.
Make your presentations dynamic
That being said, there’s also a limit to how long you can reasonably give something your undivided attention. The longer you run your meetings, the more likely people will multitask, and the more likely they’ll fail to retain all the information. Be respectful of people’s time, and keep your content short if you can.
You can also keep people’s attention by taking cues from Hollywood. Many movies constantly shift the scene or camera angle to keep our eyes engaged, and you can do the same in Prezi Video by switching between showing just you on the screen, showing you with your graphics, or only showing the content. Add in zoom and other animations to keep your presentations feeling fresh.
Embrace asynchronous updates
The most important thing to keep in mind about remote meetings is that not all of them are necessary. “What’s this meeting for?” is a crucial question we’ll be asking as we emerge on the other side of our collective work from home situations. Cut down meeting times by sending a video with context and background info ahead of time, saving the actual meeting for questions, strategy discussions, and brainstorms.
Alternatively, you can cut out some meetings entirely — many status updates or information-sharing meetings can be replaced by a Prezi video, with your team following up asynchronously via email, Slack, or a video of their own.
Watch my Prezi video for some of the video conferencing lessons I’ve learned after 6 years working remotely for Prezi:
Working remotely will never quite be the same as being there in person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it as close to that experience as possible. Stay on screen to keep your team engaged, and show your content next to you to keep them up to date. Watch these videos from experts and career coaches for more tips on working remotely effectively, and sign up for a training session to get started with Prezi Video.