On-line meetings

17.03.2020 Author: Katherine Wyles

The manner in which a person makes a presentation is important both in face-to-face meetings and video conference meetings. Listed on this page are some guidelines and presentation tips that will be helpful for your next video conference.

What to Wear

Solid shades of blue or grey are usually best. These colours (depending on the background) bring out healthy skin tones and do not create a visual distraction. On a television monitor, black and white clothing colours can also enhance the skin tones; however, if they contrast sharply with your skin tone, it is usually best to wear a less contrasting colour. Similarly, try not to dress in colours that match your skin and hair tones. These will tend to wash out your natural coloration. Avoid wearing red, green and orange, especially in bright or bold shades. These colours can cause an unfriendly hue that is distracting to the viewer.

Sounds and Movements

Noises that you may not notice in a personal meeting can become distracting in a video conference. Avoid tapping on a desk, whispering to others or shuffling papers. Modern high quality microphones are designed pick up even the softest voice and so while whispering may seem harmless, the parties on the other end of your video conference may hear every word you speak.

Avoid unnecessary movements such as rocking in a chair or moving side to side. Video systems are sensitive to motion and movements you make that may seem slight can be magnified depending on the framing of your position in the video window. Allow the viewer to concentrate on what you have to say and not on the movements that you make. If you do move substantially, do so when trying to emphasize a statement or key phrase as you speak. In this way, you can use the cameras to your advantage by allowing a key word or phrase to create a picture as well as a statement.

Speaking and Eye Contact

Eye to eye contact is important and video conferencing systems are quite good at transmitting facial expressions including the line of your eyes. When speaking, look towards the monitors and gesture as you would if the other parties were sitting right in front of you. The camera is usually located above the monitor and this makes it unnecessary to look directly at the camera in order to look natural as you speak. Instead, look at the monitors that will be showing you the images of the other meeting participants. If you are using Skype you will need to look at the web camera and not at the computer screen or it will seem as though you are looking down.

Managing Motion and Sound Delay

Meeting through a video conference is very similar to a face-to-face meeting except some participants may be half-way around the world. This can cause some important differences in the way we interact. Most people tend to interrupt one another in meetings and we do this without even thinking about it. Video conference meetings highlight interruptions especially when there is a slight delay between speakers due to the network connection. This usually happens when network connections are of slow speed and over long distances. Do your best to be patient while waiting to speak. Wait until a speaker is finished talking before you begin to speak.