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6 tips for getting more comfortable doing video meetings

Here’s everything you need to know.

business kick off meeting

According to some studies, most humans would rather die than speak in front of a crowd. If that seems a bit extreme, think about how you feel when you have to run a video meeting. Joining a video meeting can sometimes feel like stumbling on a train wreck, and running one unprepared makes you a conductor with no breaks.

Fortunately, video meetings are nothing like actual trains, and you only need some practice to prepare for one. Though the way some meetings go, you may start thinking it is a good idea to require a license to run one.

Everything Starts With the Software

Video meeting software allows you to save time and money on travel, collaborate with people on the other side of the globe any time day or night, and have interactions that are almost better than face-to-face contact. Yet no one ever seems to be comfortable—or even satisfied—with their service. This is usually where the problems begin.

You need software that is easy for both you and other video meeting participants to use. Look for a program that offers multiple join options, comprehensive controls over meeting flow, and excellent support.

The best systems allow participants to join HD-quality meetings from the web or mobile with the touch of a button, or through dial-in to toll-free and local numbers without a bunch of passcodes. You control the flow with various mute functions, screen-sharing and file-sharing, presenter options and more.

Finally, once the meeting is over, you have access to a full recording in the cloud, transcripts if you want them, and attendance records so you know who was there and who was not.

If you do not have software that runs like a well-oiled machine, easy to access and use, it is time to shop around. Video conferencing software should be simple, so you can focus on the most valuable part of your meeting: Face time.

Make Your Software Your Best Friend

Once you find the software you are happy with, spend a lot of time with it. Humans are terrible at multitasking, and you have enough work to do running a meeting. You do not need to be fumbling around learning software at the same time.

Practice using all the functions, and know them well enough to help others use them too. Get very familiar with all the joining options so that you can help people sign in if they are having trouble. When you know your software like you know an old friend, you free up precious mental space for building relationships and solving the problems that keep you in business.

Use the Buddy System

Once you and your video meeting software are tight, it is time to add another human into the equation. Someone who can support your ideas and help you feel more confident about your efforts.

The power of surrounding yourself with positive people is well-known, and adding them to the mix when you run a video meeting can completely change the game for you.

Find someone you already enjoy spending time with, someone you would like to know better, or someone completely out of your usual group of comrades. It doesn’t really matter who, just having another person on your side can be enough.

Practice Everything in Advance

Definitely get it together with the software, but don’t forget about the tasks related to your meeting. If you are not familiar with standard meeting flow, you may want to do some research before preparing your first meeting agenda.

Know your presentation material as you know yourself, so you can field even the toughest questions while troubleshooting the echo coming from someone else’s line, messaging with your manager who checked in to see how things are going, and sharing your screen with participants to demonstrate your points.

You know this will happen, and even though you may only have a human-level capacity for multitasking, advance practice will give you the power to handle your meeting like a superhero.

You Need Your Space

The space you use to host your meeting can make or break your success. Your room needs to be completely free of distractions. Even the smallest ones, like a ticking clock or humming HVAC that you never notice, can seem like T-Rex in Jurassic Park to some.

Try to use a room that has hanging pictures or bookshelves, furniture, and carpet to mute the potential echo. Keep the space clean and free of clutter. And finally, try to use a room that has solid-colored walls so your meeting participants don’t get dizzy looking at that plaid wallpaper in the breakroom.

Look Good, Feel Good

Looks aren’t everything, but a put-together wardrobe can give you the confidence to handle anything that comes your way the day of your big meeting. Wear something that makes you feel good and is comfortable. Avoid patterns and jingly jewelry.

Remember that this is a business meeting, and your best camera angle will be pointed slightly downward, so no plunging necklines.

Get plenty of rest the night before. Drink plenty of water and eat a good breakfast the day of. Take a deep breath, and jump on board knowing you are fully prepared and supported by good software, your video meeting buddy, and your own hard work and competence.

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