Is your business looking for an effective way to
connect with remote workers? Online video calling is an important way for remote
teams to stay in touch. But some workers and businesses are still
unfamiliar with how to hold an effective video conference call
Even if your business doesn’t rely on remote
teams today, chances are that they will in the near future. Remote work is an
important part of the way most businesses are run. Remote workers can save a
business money because there’s generally less overhead with a remote worker.
Hiring remote workers also gives a company access to a broader and more diverse
workforce. Recent figures from the United States Census Bureau’s American
Community Survey indicates that 13.4 million people in the U.S. work
from home. In the U.K., recent data from the Office for National Statistics
indicated that over
4.2 million people work from home at
least some of the time.
Good communication is vital to any successful
business. Yet, one study found that remote workers often
feel left out (Harvard
Business Review). Online video
calling can help solve communication problems and alleviate feelings of
disconnectedness. Online video conferences can also be a means for remote teams
to stay in touch and to make sure that the team is on track for meeting goals
In this tutorial, we’ll share what you need to
know to get started with online video calling for business conferences. We’ll
start with the tools you need to participate in a video call. Then we’ll
discuss how to prepare for a video conference call as well as what to do while
you’re participating in a live conf. call. Finally, we’ll touch upon what you
should do once your video call is over.
How to Choose the Right Tools for Your Video Call
The tools you need for your online video call
vary, but most likely you’ll start with web video conferencing software. For an
overview of some of the various best video conferencing software options
available, study this article:
Most video conference call software relies on
the internet, so make sure that you’ve got a connection available. You’ll also
need some hardware tools for your video call, including a:
- Camera. While some video conferencing software will
allow you to participate without a camera, you’ll want a good webcam if you
want to do a face call. For most people, this will be a webcam although you may
be able to get by with a camera on your smartphone or tablet. For best image quality,
get a webcam with higher resolution. Also, a higher frame rate keeps the image
from freezing intermittently.
- Microphone. Some web conferencing software will allow you to
participate using a smart device, but if you’re hosting the online video
conference, you’ll want a better microphone so conference
participants can hear you clearly.
Be sure to check out the hardware
recommendations for the video conferencing software you chose. You can also find
some guidelines for choosing good hardware in this article on how to set up a
You may also find this course helpful:
Once you’ve selected the right tools and equipment, it’s time
to start preparing for your online call.
How to Prepare for the Video Call
If you want your facetime conference call or
other live video call to be successful, you need to be prepared. In this
section we’ll discuss four areas you should pay attention to:
- using a presentation
Let’s look at each area separately.
1. Appearances Matter
The first area you want to pay attention to is how
you look. You may be working from home, but if you’re participating in a live
video call you’ll need to look presentable. That means wearing the same sort of
clothing you would wear to the office (if you went in) for your video conf. call,
but opt for a comfortable version of it keeping in mind the temperature. Here’s
a short video that discusses on-camera appearance.
Some of these guidelines
in this tutorial apply to conference calls as well:
Also, consider what will appear in the call
immediately behind you. Is it a cluttered office? A messy bulletin board? A wall
filled with posters? All of these could potentially affect how you’re
perceived. Take a bit of time to spruce up any part of the office that may be
visible to the participants of your online call.
2. Create the Right Environment
There’s more to having a successful conference
call than simply picking the right outfit, though. You also need to make sure
that the environment is right before the conference.
Make sure the room you’ll be using for the
conference call has good lighting. Soft, natural light is the best. But avoid
backlighting, which could occur if you sit in front of a window. Ideally, the
light source would be positioned behind your computer screen.
You’ll also want to make sure that your space is
distraction-free. That may mean letting family members know that you’ll be on a
call (and unavailable) so they don’t accidentally interrupt. Also, make sure the
ringtone on your phone is silenced for the duration of the call and turn off
any notifications you’ve got set up on your computer or smart devices.
3. Have a Plan
If you’ve got regular conf. calls scheduled with
your team, they may be more or less informal. Unfortunately, unplanned calls
can sometimes become rambling and time-consuming, which eats into your
productivity and the productivity of your team.
You can save time by planning what will be
discussed in advance. If you’re hosting the conference call, send out an
agenda. But even if you’re not hosting the meeting, you can still create a personal
list of topics you’d like the team members to discuss. Having such a list can
keep the meeting on track.
4. Create a Presentation
A presentation, such as a PowerPoint
presentation, is also a good way to present information to team members quickly
and efficiently. And many web conferencing tools allow you to integrate a
presentation into your video call. An added bonus of using a presentation is
that you can send to team members who missed the conf. call as well as to
participants after the meeting is over.
If you decide to use a presentation, you’ll want to make
sure it looks professional. The quickest way to do that is to use a pre-built presentation
template such as those available through Envato Elements or GraphicRiver.
Elements is an all-you-can-download service that provides you access to premium
creative assets such as presentation templates, WordPress themes, stock photos,
and more. GraphicRiver allows you to pay for each asset as you need it.
To learn more about how to create a great presentation, why not download our eBook on presentations: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It’s free when you subscribe to the Envato Tuts+ Business Newsletter.
What to Do During the Conf. Call
Once you’ve got your equipment and planned for
your web conference, it’s time to have the call. Here are some guidelines to
follow on the day of the call:
- Be on
time. No one likes an unnecessary wait. If your meeting participants are in
different time zones, double-check to make sure that you understand which time
zone the meeting invite is based on. If you’re hosting the meeting, make the
conference line available a little early.
- Pay attention. Just
because you’re remote (and possibly sitting in the comfort of your own home),
doesn’t mean the meeting isn’t important. Don’t try to multi-task by listening
to the meeting and performing other work-related or non-work-related tasks at
the same time. Give the meeting your full attention.
- Take notes. As
you listen, jot down the important points of the web conference call as well as
any items that require action on your part. If detailed information such as
charts and graphs are presented, ask the presenter if they can email a copy to
you after the meeting for your own records.
- Record the conference call. Many web video conferencing tools allow for a
web conference call to be recorded. If you’re the host, consider setting your
software tool to record the online meeting. You can make this available later
for team members who couldn’t participate in the call.
What to Do After the Video Call
You’ve just learned how to select the software and
hardware you need to participate in or host a live video call as well as how to
plan for that call and how to participate in it. But once the call is over,
you’re not done. There are some follow up tasks you’ll need to carry out. Here
are a few of them:
1. Send a Thank-you Email
If your meeting wasn’t a routine meeting,
consider sending a thank-you note afterwards. A thank you note is especially
important after an interview—even a web
interview call. According to a study
from Robert Half, less than a fourth of all interview participants send a
thank-you note after an interview. Yet, the same study found that over half of
HR professionals find receiving a thank-you note helpful.
But even if your video call wasn’t an interview,
a thank-you note may still be a good way to make a positive impression if the
call involved someone making an extra effort on your behalf. For guidance on
how to write a good thank you note email, study this tutorial:
2. Study Your Meeting Notes
Once your live video call has ended, take some
time to really study your meeting notes. Pay attention to any items that you
didn’t understand as well as any items that require action on your part. For items
you don’t understand, contact the presenter or meeting organizer as soon as
possible to get a clarification. Use the tips in this tutorial to write
a professional email:
3. Follow Through on Assignments
For those any tasks that required you to act, be
sure to follow through on those required actions. If you’re the meeting
organizer and you find that meeting participants aren’t completing their
assigned tasks, the tutorial below will help you write a reminder email:
Go Ahead & Hold Your Live Video Call
We’ve gone over the hardware and software you’ll
need for a live video call. We’ve also discussed how to prepare for a video
conference call. Plus, we’ve talked about what to do during a web call and how to
follow through afterwards.
With the guidelines you learned in this tutorial,
you know how to set up video calling. Why not start planning one today? (And don’t
forget to download a premium presentation
template from Envato Elements or GraphicRiver to save