Bay Tree VA

Increase your relationship building skills by using video conferencing calls

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Jane Cattermole

Welcome to our Bay Tree VA blog. In this series I will be sharing with you tips, good practice and favourite finds.  I’ll also provide an insight into how we work and assist clients at Bay Tree VA.

The first topic is on video conference calls. A lot of us can shy away from these, but what has driven us to use these more is how they help with relationship building. The diagram below shows the value of using different forms of communication:

Face to face meetings are important in building trust and on a basic level allow us to pick up on body language and nuances to help connect with the person sitting in front of us. Working remotely can be limiting on this front, as e-mail and phone calls are our mainstays of communication, but building trust is also key. Video conferencing is not the same as meeting in person, but does provide that visual communication which is really helpful.

We have been favouring  calls of late. Below are a few of our hint and tips for those video conference calls:

  • Be somewhere quiet without distractions.
  • Check the sound quality and familiarise yourself with the settings. This is important as some default settings can change following updates.
  • In Zoom, when sending the invitation for the meeting, the option ‘mute on entry’ is set as a default. Therefore be ready to hit the unmute button or if you’re sending the invitation, adjust the setting accordingly.
  • I found that my audio settings weren’t always consistent. I bought some headphones (choosing Sennheiser PC 8 USB Internet Telephony On-Ear Headset) and that has stabilised my audio.
  • Ensure the computer’s camera is at the correct height. A lot of cameras cannot be adjusted. (I have to take my computer off a riser and sit on a cushion to achieve optimum height!)
  • Most cameras are at the top of the screen. Be aware of this and look at it when you’d usually make eye contact
  • Ahead of the meeting, log in so there are no updates and you have the most current version.
  • If someone has a poor internet connection, it may be easier to switch to an audio call (i.e. turning off the video, even temporarily).
  • If you’re having a video call at home, think who else is using the broadband i.e. streaming, on smart phones, laptops etc and try to minimise their use for the duration of your call.
  • If you are going through a large file or presentation, consider sharing it ahead of the meeting. This will reduce the time it might take to load and be available if you have to switch to an audio call.
  • Be aware of the setting behind you – it shouldn’t be cluttered or distracting. If there is a window, see if there is any glare on the screen and close the curtains or blinds.
  • Finally, don’t save video conference calls for the important meetings. Practice with colleagues and contacts when you would have used the phone.

I hope that will encourage you to give video conferencing a go.  Do share any practical tips or experiences you’ve had with video conference calls.

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