Workplace collaboration can lead to faster, more effective decision-making, increased creativity and productivity, happier employees and a healthier bottom line. And, according to research conducted by Wainhouse Research, video conferencing can directly benefit businesses in each of those ways—but only if the technology is being used effectively.
As a value-added reseller, you have the opportunity (and challenge) to ensure your customers are getting the most out of their video conferencing solution. Many end users will be new to video collaboration, especially in a business setting. It’s important that they follow some important guidelines to avoid unnecessary distractions, technical difficulties and other problems that would disrupt the flow of collaboration.
To help your customers sustain workplace collaboration, even over video, consider offering the following tips:
1. Location, location, location.
When preparing a conferencing room, remember that lighting and acoustics will have a huge impact on the quality of video. Ideally, choose a room without windows or with very heavy shades or curtains. A tile or hardwood floor could cause excess echoes, so opt for a carpeted room, or add rugs and drapery to improve the acoustics.
2. Place your technology carefully.
If your conference room has windows, be sure to position the camera so it’s facing away from outside light to avoid backlight and glare. The camera should be placed as close to seated eye level as possible, with the display(s) located very close by. This will help the employees on the other side of the camera feel that they are communicating more naturally with those in the room, which helps maintain the flow of communication.
3. Ensure effective audio.
So many factors can impact the quality of the audio on a conference call. If the microphone is too close or too far away, the audio will be too soft or too loud. If there is an abundance of extra noise, such as papers shuffling or people coughing, the other attendees might miss something important. In a large conference room, the best bet is to install microphones in the ceiling. To ensure everyone can be heard, you’ll usually need one microphone for every two participants.
4. Optimize file sharing.
Ideally, employees should share any files on a second screen, while the first is reserved for running video of the conference. That way, the face-to-face nature of the meeting isn’t compromised every time a document needs to be shared or referenced.
5. Practice good video conferencing etiquette.
This can mean different things to different companies. But no matter what a company considers good video conferencing etiquette, it’s important that all employees are on board. For example, many companies establish a standard way for employees to introduce themselves and to ask questions on a video conference call. Some calls are led by one employee, while others allow everyone to share the spotlight. Each team should determine what works best for them and what will keep the collaboration flowing.
6. Manage remote employees.
Remote employees often add an unpredictable element to a video conferencing session. Whether they’re calling in from a busy airport or working at home with a dog or toddler in the background, those unexpected noises can significantly impact a collaboration session. Be sure remote employees are familiar with some important best practices for meetings from afar, such as moving to a quiet area and using the mute button when not actively speaking.
What other tips would you share with customers who want to optimize collaboration over video conferencing? What are some of the main obstacles to collaboration that you've witnessed?