Video conferencing has been a game-changer for remote teams and businesses working with a global client base. You can do virtually anything in a video conference that you can do in an in-person meeting, only without the associated travel time and costs, and including members of the team who otherwise couldn’t be present.
We use a variety of different tools for video conferencing including Google Hangouts, Skype and Zoom.
While Wholegrain has a London HQ, our team members are spread around the country and right around the world. Therefore we hold weekly Team Hangouts each Wednesday and all Wholegrain team members are invited to join us. During the meeting, we check in to see how the entire team is doing and what they’ve been up to. Everybody states the progress of their current projects and whether they need any help, advice or feedback. It’s also a great opportunity to virtually get together with the team, especially if you don’t work in London.
In addition, all project managers have a separate hangout where they discuss and schedule projects, report on the status of current projects, and help and support each other where necessary.
Wholegrain developers also have a regular hangout to discuss technical matters, and share their technical knowledge, skills and experiences with each other.
- Please use your webcam where possible so you can see each other as you talk. Conference calls can be hard, but they’re much more difficult when you can’t read the other person’s facial expressions.
- Make sure you have a presentable backdrop. If necessary, close the blinds and ensure you don’t have any lights or reflections interfering in the camera’s view.
- Sit in a quiet environment and, if possible, use a headset with a microphone – computer speakers can cause an echo and your computer microphone can accentuate background noise. If you have some background noise, keep your microphone muted while you’re not talking.
- Start the meeting by asking everybody to quickly introduce themselves, unless you know that everybody on the call knows each other.
- Appoint a facilitator for the call if you think it would be advantageous.
- Be proactive. Remember that you’re part of the meeting, not simply observing. It can feel rude interrupting people in video calls, mainly due to the slight latency, but asking questions or offering context can be invaluable for everybody on the call.
- Be mindful of the latency, which can make conversation stilted. If you’ve been speaking, pause before moving onto a new topic so people have time to add their voice. If somebody asks you a question, respond promptly to avoid any awkward silences.
- Remember to look into the camera when you’re talking. And remember that you are probably on screen, even if you’re not talking!