Easy Startup and Clear Communication
Video conferencing is well on its way to being the new standard in business communication. You may have heard of the saying (or the research that supports it) that over 90 percent of human communication is non-verbal. Now that high speed internet connections and webcams are the norm, we finally have an option for long distance communication and collaboration that allows us to take advantage of nonverbal communication.
The options available for video conferencing run the gamut from free download and consumer-grade hardware to top of the line immersive telepresence solutions. Whether your business has dedicated conference rooms or you do your chatting from the screen of an iPad, there are some easy tricks and choices you can use to make any call cleaner, faster, and more convenient for everyone.
Easy and Convenient Startup
The first measure of a good video conferencing service isn’t bandwidth or video quality. An effective call starts with one question, before anyone’s camera turns on: how easy is it to set up a call with the people you need to contact?
Compatibility has been one of video conferencing’s eternal drawbacks: you can only talk to people who use the same system you do! Fortunately, that problem has largely been solved, thanks to international startups like Blue Jeans and the concept of system agnostic service. This video conference calls system is designed to work with any hardware, software or operating system, even mobile devices. In its simplest form, it doesn’t even require a download: just email a link, and your collaborators can hop on to the call right in a browser window. As long as you have the right system, it doesn’t matter what endpoint anyone else uses: you can still make your calls happen!
Let’s be honest: sometimes video quality doesn’t matter. If you need a quick question answered or an idea vetted, some lag and pixilation won’t stand in your way. However, better video and picture quality mean better connections with the people you’re talking to, especially important for interviews or pitches. Fortunately, there are easy ways to improve your picture quality without upping bandwidth.
- Good lighting. Good image quality is all about good lighting. Pick a conference room with good natural lighting if possible. If you need other lights, place them behind your monitor or camera, so the light falls naturally on your face – but do a trial run to ensure the light doesn’t turn you into a big white blob on camera!
- A static background. Minimize the extraneous movement going on in the background of your call. Not only is it distracting to you and your collaborators, it gives your camera and processors more work to handle, and you’ll start to see a decline in video quality. A blank, neutrally colored wall makes the best backdrop to improve video quality and make you the focus of the image.
- Camera placement. If your lighting is good, camera placement won’t have a huge impact on image quality, but it will impact the quality of your conversation. Adjust your web camera so that it’s eye level, especially if you’re using a laptop with a built in camera. This will help you look at the camera and not your screen, so you make eye contact with the other parties.
Sound quality is vital for good collaboration: nothing sinks a conference faster than not being able to understand the speaker. If you’re doing a lot of presenting, consider investing in an external microphone. The built in microphones in most laptop computers are about the same size as the mic in your cell phone, and it will be struggling to pick you up from a much greater distance! Look for a compression mic as well: this type of microphone helps filter out extraneous noise like air movement and breathing for clearer, better sound quality. You want your voice and your words to be the focus—not distracting background noise.
If lighting and location adjustments still aren’t producing the video quality you want, it’s time to upgrade your camera. HD video cameras are especially valuable for Human Resources professionals conducting interviews over video, who need to be able to clearly read the features of a potential hire on the other end of a call. A higher-quality camera still needs the support of good lighting and location, but it will give you the clearer, crisper picture quality you’re looking for.
High quality video conferencing doesn’t demand expensive equipment or large amounts of bandwidth. With the right conferencing system and some attention paid to lighting and location, you can get the most out of your video calls with only a small investment in hardware. Don’t get left behind: it’s time to take advantage of the best long distance communication technology has to offer us.