3 Hacks for a Great Video Conference Meeting

Our CEO peer Group, Trail Team 10, uses Zoom to interact on a weekly basis. I really enjoy its ease of use, seamless integration on all platforms and devices, and very high reliability.

After using it so often, I thought I might share 3 hacks to a great video conference meeting. 

1 – Video Mute:

It’s easy to forget about someone if they are the only one not on camera and they are represented by a blank, black screen.

  • It may be helpful to establish the expectation that everyone will be “live” on camera or everyone not “live” camera at all.
  • If for some unexpected reason a team member can’t be “live” on camera, then you may want to encourage them to be represented by a recent, professional, cheerful photo of themselves.

2 – Audio Mute:

A few years ago I was hired for some consulting work with a globally dispersed task-force team at Procter & Gamble.

These were high-performing, high-achieving, and talented leaders. Their expectations of each other were very high. They did not use a video conference calling system, they simply met via audio conference. And, they made a somewhat curious and unconventional “team ground rule.” No one was permitted to put their phone on mute during the entire call.

When I asked them why they established this rule they were all very clear and very much aligned. In their experience, avoiding mute:

  • Nurtured trust because when a phone went mute team members assumed the muted individual was not engaged and not paying attention.
  • Ensured that team members were in environments that were mostly free of distractions where the team member could focus on communicating with the team.
  • Increased the odds that reactions and lack of reactions to the topic at hand enhanced understanding and prodded further discussion on how team members were feeling about the topic.

I think it’s a bit different on a video conferencing tool like Zoom. If we can see everyone and their microphone is muted, we still can get the sense that everyone on the team is connected and paying attention.

In fact, in my group, when I see that someone has unmuted their microphone, it usually sends the signal to me as the facilitator they have something to share and I may want to ask them if that is so.

So, on a system like Zoom, you can use the mute/unmute feature as a way of “raising your hand” so that the facilitator knows to give space for you to speak next.

3 – Recording:

The ease and retrieval of a recorded video conference call is wonderful. Zoom’s recording feature is as easy as clicking one record button and then clicking on one link for playback. The challenge I find is permission. People tend to change their level of candor and level of interaction when a video conference is being recorded. So, here are some tips you might think about:

  • Ask everyone if it’s ok to record, first.
  • You may also want to create opportunities for un-recorded, un-structured meetings to encourage candor.
  • Before sharing the recorded video, you may want to ask if anyone objects to the recording being shared.

I hope these three tips will help you have a great video conference.

If you are interested in learning more about Zoom, feel free to check out my interview with the Founder & CEO, Eric Yuan.

What works for your team?

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