Step-by-step guide to setting up a video conference

You heard it (read it) on the Grapevine

Step-by-step guide to setting up a video conference

October 26, 2011
whyGo Gazette

So you've made the decision to use whyGo corporate account as a connection tool to bridge together your remote business partners for a meeting. Whether you've got a couple of different people scattered over one big area or you have a substantial number of participants all over the world, whyGo's booking system and video conferencing facilities are fully equipped to handle your every need. Here we will look at a basic guide to getting yourself into the meeting room quickly and seamlessly.

  1. Pinpoint locations. You'll need to locate the nearest facilities based on their proximity to each of your participants. Ideally, you'll want to find the ones that multiple people can reach from a reasonable distance. Check out the location finder to accomplish this preliminary step. It's also worth noting that if you're interested, our site has the same function for looking up the higher-end telepresence facilities.
  2. Set a date and time. You'll need to cross-check your books with the openings listed on whyGo's booking system and find a date and time when every location you're using is open and all of your participants are free. This may end up being the hardest part!
  3. Choose chairperson(s) and learn equipment. As previously noted in our blog, it's good to have some heads of the meeting to keep things running smoothly. At this point it would behoove you to research some video conferencing tips and tricks. You can find some of these in previous blog posts right here. Additionally, you'll want to make sure that at least you and the other chairperson(s) know how to use the equipment. It shouldn't be hard, but it's necessary. If needed, you can book extra time before the meeting to practice.
  4. Prepare the meting and its materials. We can safely assume you have your own goals and guidelines for this video conference, so all that's left to do is finalize this information and prepare any data or presentations you might be offering.
  5. Get conferencing!

The Growing List of Video Conference Uses Means You Need To Do This

Have you noticed how many times someone is using video conference technology? whyGo has been in the industry now for more than ten years, and things have changed a lot. We've seen the idea of video calls go from something George Jetson used in a cartoon to something we do every day on a smartphone.

The Many Faces Of Video Conferencing

Today, it isn't unusual to see someone using remote collaboration technology to do a variety of things:

  • collaborate with colleagues in research and development -- from different countries
  • interview for a job
  • take a college-level course
  • go to cyberschool instead of take the bus
  • check in with your doctor
  • negotiate business contracts
  • conduct seminars
  • bring experts to the classroom
  • take a virtual field trip
  • talk to relatives and friends
  • enhance a long-distance relationship
  • provide tutoring
  • improve customer service
  • safely interview dangerous prisoners
  • conduct court hearings
  • and more keep being invented!

It's clear that there's no going back on the ability to see and hear someone far away. Every time we look, we see more people using it.

So What Does That Mean For You?

The fact that video conference technology is getting easier to use means you should get acquainted with using it. It's very likely that you will need to use some type of videoconferencing soon, for your job or personal life. It isn't difficult to learn how to use a technology like Skype, and calling family or friends will give you experience with speaking on camera. Keep the preview window up so you can see what you look like. Notice what makes a good impression and what is distracting.

Getting acquainted with the basics of being seen while you speak will prepare you for the probability that you will be on a screen during a video conference sometime soon.

For more information on video conference basics, visit the WhyGo FAQs page.

Cheaper alternatives put strain on high-end video conferencing

It's no surprise that customers all around the world are interested in the least expensive solutions for remote communications and video chats. Although there's certainly a place in the market for high-end video conferencing and telepresence systems, the release of more and more affordable video conferencing tools and web conferencing solutions has put a real strain on the sales of these higher grade systems. A recent article on Information Age explains that the IDC's newest reports show while sales of high-end video conferencing dropped by 39%, personal conferencing tools rose by 53%. The reporter elaborates:

"IDC found that during the first quarter of 2012, sales of high-end telepresence systems fell by 39% compared to the same period of last year. These 'multi-CODEC' offerings, such as Cisco's Telepresence 3200, use multiple network data encoding systems for audio, video and data to ensure high quality."

The concern here is that the quality of free and inexpensive video conferencing tools is becoming substantial enough to push users away from pricey solutions. One way to frame it into a modern context is to consider the difference between a standard-definition television channel and its high-def counterpart. While nearly everyone would choose to watch in HD if price wasn't an issue, the expenses related to subscribing to services that offer these HD programs (not to mention the hardware needed to do so) drives customers towards more affordable, standardized systems and solutions. If people can get their work done with Skype or WebEx, why bother with a Cisco telepresence tool?

As previously mentioned, the market does still have a place for high-end systems. But Cisco and like-minded companies should consider focusing on enterprise-grade technology that offers large businesses a number of tools that they can't turn down. The personal user simply won't be able to afford some of the strongest products in the industry as it stands.

Finding a balance between hardware and software video conferencing solutions

It's no secret that the video conferencing industry has been making a dedicated shift towards software-based solutions over the past handful of years, and with the growing number of mobile devices that can handle it there's little question as to why. A software-based solution offers more flexibility to customers and can generally be delivered at lower prices too. With that being said, many businesses - especially enterprises that already have dedicated systems in place using video conferencing hardware - are concerned about this shift. Reporter Gina Narcisi from SearchUnifiedCommunications writes:

"Most customers today -- whether for ease of use or performance-related concerns, would still prefer a hardware appliance or dedicated machine, Wainhouse's Davis said. Despite enterprise hesitation, the number of remote and mobile users, and new branch office locations is spurring a need for hybrid video conferencing deployments."

Room-based and desktop solutions only make up part of the market today, and that's why there is a growing need for software-based solutions for video conferencing. Many customers will already have the necessary hardware - the concern is in finding compatible software and providing the IT support needed to set it up and maintain it.

There are definitely draws to hardware-based solutions, and no one is suggesting to phase them out completely. They are almost certainly the best solutions for conference room calls that connect two remote groups; likewise, an office space that uses desktops and does not employ much remote or mobile work would benefit from hardware-based solutions as well.

Still, the market is clearly trending towards software, and businesses will have to perform a balancing act to keep up-to-date as new solutions come out. What do you think will happen? Share your thoughts!

3 Ways Businesses Are Effective With Videoconferencing

The increasing use of video technology is an asset for most businesses because it is changing the way that daily tasks are accomplished. Where once, collaboration required a lot of investment, now it is a great way to collaborate seamlessly within the normal working day. Time, training, and telecommuting are effective with video conference technology.


Since a meeting can be easily set up with a scheduling system like whyGo's, it doesn't have to be a big deal. Meetings can be shorter, with easier-to-digest content and scheduled whenever something occurs. No more concentrated overloads of information with everyone worrying about getting their job done today.


The ability to break down training sessions into smaller segments means the material can be processed and applied before going on, and that individual questions can be answered easily. This ensures the training is effective and eliminates misunderstanding.

Many times, a question about forms or computer programs can be answered with one video call instead of waiting for the next session.


The flexibility of telecommuting relies on the availability to connect over projects. Video meetings can keep team members in touch and enable valuable, experienced employees to stay on board. With the whyGo, anyone in your address book is available at the touch of a button for a face-to-face meeting that doesn't take a big chunk out of the day.

Video conferences are great ways to keep a business running smoothly because they allow the communication to be optimal between staff members without taking them away from their responsibilities.

Boost Productivity By Adding Mobile To Your Video conferences

The ability to connect different mobile devices to a video conference can make a real difference in the productivity of a team because it allows folks to quickly meet, collaborate, and get on with their day from wherever they are located. WhyGo's Outlook Plug-in gives you that ability with ease.

It doesn't matter if you are using BlueJeans, Easymeeting, MS Lync, or VidTel to connect because the whyGo network can handle it. IP/H323, SIP, Skype, Google+, or whatever a coworker's got is probably in the realm of possibility because we've worked hard to keep up on the way the world works today.

The reason it's important to be able to fit a mobile device into a standard video conference is because people tend to be very comfortable with their own device. They can do the simple adaptation and troubleshooting that gets them communicating and productive. Keeping it easy to connect provides the interaction remote workers need to be considered a regular contributor.

Many companies are discovering that it is better to bring some attendees into their business video conference room with their own devices in order to keep them active in their participation and benefit from their productivity. The Outlook Plug-in lets you "schedule any person, on any technology,on any network, in any venue and all on your existing scheduling system in just a few clicks."

People can collaborate with less interruption to their tasks, interact with less irrelevance, and focus on the goals they are working together to accomplish. The ability whyGo offers, adding mobile to the business videoconference, puts your team ahead of the game.

"Bring Your Own Device" grows in popularity, Cisco tablet sinks

The recent development of video conferencing services and tools that allow users to connect with one another through different types of devices has allowed many businesses and institutions to instate "Bring Your Own Device" policies, which means that employees are allowed to user their own mobile phones, computers, and other tools to connect to video conferences. While this is certainly good news for most businesses - as it means that some can opt not to employ full-scale video conferencing hardware solutions that cost lots of money - there are also some in the industry who seem to be suffering from the shift in ideologies. Cisco recently announced its termination of the Cius line of tablets unveiled in 2010, citing "BYOD" trends as a major reason for its lack of success. The article from Information Age explains:

"The network equipment manufacturer cited its own recent research into "bring your own device" initiatives, which found that 95% of organisations allow employee-owned devices in the office, while 36% provide full support for employee-owned devices."

While this does not necessarily mean that Cisco's tablet was a poor product, poorly priced, or anything of that nature, it does show how disparate the worlds of video conferencing hardware and software can be. Though Cisco is still one of the biggest video conferencing service providers in the world, its forays into hardware have been received with some difficulty because of pre-existing tools that accomplish similar functions while simultaneously offering the user others. Laptops and mobile phones cover a wide range of platform interest, but if users are looking for tablets, they're highly likely to invest in an iPad or a comparable Android tablet by one of the industry's reputed Android hardware providers, such as Samsung or HTC.

Despite the unfortunate news for Cisco, BYOD is a great step forward in most scenarios. It saves businesses money, it allows users to work with the tools they prefer, and it spreads the popularity of video conferencing as a whole.

Business video conferencing that fits your needs

For businesses and institutions that employ people over a wide geographic area, communication is especially important. Unfortunately, it's not always feasible to fly people from one location to another, especially when it's only for a single, one-hour meeting. That's why many of these larger businesses have turned towards video conferencing as a solution for keeping all employees on the same page. In order to decide what kind of video conferencing system to invest in, though, some factors need considering. Daily News & Analysis recently published an excellent article looking at how to find the right video conferencing system. Its advice, summarized, is to: consider your budget, make sure that all prerequisites are available, decide on desired features, ensure security, and consider the participants.

As is often the case with products in our modern world, the first point of interest - the budget - may be the most important. Deciding on a budget first will keep you from swaying out of your price range based on other features and concerns; it's a responsible choice, but it can be a difficult one as well. The wide range of features offered by different video conferencing systems and service providers comes with a wide range of prices. However, once you have decided on your budget, you can narrow down your options and select from those remaining based on the other criteria.

The article also makes a point of noting that web conferencing service like Cisco's WebEx and GoToMeeting are also a distinct possibility. In this circumstance, the tip about ensuring that all participants have the prerequisites is essential - web conferencing tools can work on a number of platforms, so it's likely that your employees and/or co-workers are more prepared than they think.

Keep these tips in mind and choose the video conferencing system that's right for you!

Choose the right hardware for your video conferencing needs

There is a plethora of software and hardware on the market to support the ever-growing interest and need for whyGo corporate account and telepresence technology. It is understandable that the consumer may feel overwhelmed by all of the options and their various features, price tags, and limitations. Let's take a minute to focus on the hardware associated with video conferences and when you should choose to use which types of tools.

First, there's your standard laptop or desktop configuration. Many modern computers already come equipped with cameras and microphones, but you can also use USB-attached hardware at relatively low cost. These conference tools are best for office workers who are only looking to interact with one or a handful of people - you can only realistically show yourself on this kind of camera, and the audio pickup isn't strong enough to reach farther than a few feet away. Still, they are inexpensive, integrated, and useful tools for a lot of situations in which you may find yourself.

If you're looking to include a bigger group in the conference, you may want to look at tools designed for conference rooms. There are larger cameras, cameras that rotate, ones with configurable views, and so on. These more adaptable tools are generally more costly but provide a more full experience for users who need to collaborate together on a conference.

Finally, there are mobile conferencing tools. You can use your smart phone or tablet such as the iPad to partake in a video conference on-the-go. These should really only be used when other options aren't available, but that doesn't mean that they are not convenient. Even free programs on these mobile tools can support a small group of conference participants.

Choose the video conferencing tools that are right for you!

Does Your Company Have A Green Travel Plan?

A green travel plan reduces your company's carbon footprint and that's good, but it also reduces your employees' stress levels and that's even better. While adjusting work schedules to avoid traffic jams and getting bike racks up to encourage biking to work will help, the best tool in your arsenal against carbon dioxide emissions is videoconferencing.

The use of remote conferencing technology helps your company's green travel plans in two ways:

  • Telecommuting allows you to hire the best workers without needing to bring them into the building every day. Remote collaboration is easy with the unified communications available today, and if everyone is in the Corporate Account booking system, a quick conference is a click away.
  • Business Video Conferencing takes the place of the old redeye flights back and forth from important meetings. Everyone gets more done in less time and is less resistant to scheduling regular update sessions. No more hotel and airfare expenses + less impact on the environment = a win/win situation for everybody.

Less travel back and forth to work and business meetings is a great way to improve the quality of life for the community around your company and for the people who work there. If it were more difficult to set up video conferences, it would be adding to stress levels all around, but with whyGo's network abilities, multiple endpoints are easily connected. Any room, any device, anywhere. We can even help you figure out the ROI on the equipment you've invested in so your accounting department can accurately assess that investment. Your company can fulfill environmental awareness goals and productivity targets at the same time with whyGo.

Dispelling concerns about video conferencing

Nearly any new piece of technology that comes out is going to be scrutinized by the public and many people will hesitate to accept it as an improvement on already existing tools and practices. In fact, almost every great innovation in the past thirty years has come with its fair share of naysayers - those who believed the Internet could never take off on the large scale are just one example. whyGo corporate account is no different. Although it has proven itself to be an exceptional tool for communications through its ability to replicate in-person meetings in a variety of ways, its cost-efficient nature, and its ability to act as an alternative to travel, many have yet to accept it as a staying presence in the world of communications. Let's take a look at a couple of the perceived shortcomings and see how video conferencing can respond to these concerns.

Primarily, users are concerned with quality. Early examples of video conferencing systems suffered from shoddy audiovisual connectivity, largely due to bandwidth issues. This is an understandable concern because there is little more frustrating than a connection that goes in and out; however, recent iterations of prominent video conferencing systems run as smoothly as possible. Companies have discovered ways to handle bandwidth issues, such as SVC coding - which accounts for natural fluctuations in bandwidth in order to optimize quality - and other tools. Bandwidth has also been improved upon since video conferencing first came into the scene. Anyone who fears for the quality of VC should give a newer version a try - we are sure that they will be satisfied.

Another concern with video conferencing is that it cannot hope to emulate all of the intricacies of an in-person meeting. It's true that video chats can't make up for everything that you might find in a personal interaction, but this seems to be more of a "hang-up" rather than an actual issue. Anything that people need to collaborate on can most likely be accomplished through video conferencing. Unless you need someone to physically assist you with a project, there should be no concern. Beyond that, the world of telepresence robotics is working to create even more interactive video conferencing experiences.

If you're hesitant about video conferencing for any reason, you should at least give it a try first. You might find that this form of communication is a lot more versatile than you previously thought!

Environments for video conferencing

Video conferencing is a highly effective tool for communicating and creating new opportunities. It's also used as a competitive alternative to travel that saves people both time and money. But in what environments does video conferencing flourish the most? Let's take a look at a few of the most prevalent places where video conferencing is found and see why it works so well.

Businesses: One of the most common and widespread uses of video conferencing is in the world of business. Video conferences are effective ways to bring remote workers and distant business partners in to discuss important strategies and other concerns. It saves unnecessary money and time spent on traveling and provides a more communicative environment than phone conferences or e-mail correspondence. Many businesses are able to accomplish more in less time thanks to the use of video conferencing.

Education: Classrooms around the world have embraced the use of video conferencing to broadcast lectures across vast distances and to allow students a chance to experience more hands-on education. Virtual field trips are now a distinct possibility with video conferencing.

Health Care: Doctors and other health care professionals are now able to interact with remote patients and other health care providers through video conferencing to develop solutions and strategies even when not physically present. Of note, in-home treatment regiments can be developed and overseen through video conferencing.

Prisons: Video conferencing is also making its way into prisons, where it can be used for a variety of reasons. Visitors can engage in virtual visits to cut down on travel and improve security; prisoners can also make contact with lawyers, parole officers, and court rooms as necessary.

Video conferencing is a truly versatile tool that's making a difference all over the world. Where do you see it going next?

Exploring Collaborations Technology

The development of more sophisticated tools for communication has created new markets in the technology industry. Companies are now able to support themselves by focusing solely on these collaborative communications systems, such as video conferencing and telepresence software and hardware. These relatively new forms of connectivity trump phone calls and e-mails with their ability to replicate an in-person meeting through powerful audiovisual connections. Users are now able to see, hear, and interact with remote parties of all kinds on a wide range of platforms. Whether you prefer to use a laptop or a mobile device, video conferencing can fit your needs and your current means. That being said, the technology is not without its naysayers. A recent editorial published on InfoWorld by Galen Gruman takes a controversial look at what he believes to be the "fallacy of collaboration technology". Gruman describes video conferences as "awkward, pricey phone calls". After opening with an anecdote about his vision of the future, he writes:

"Many of the technologies needed to support that vision exist, so why isn't it a reality? In fact, we've seen the failure of a high-profile version of this future in the ignoble death of the Cisco Cius videoconferencing tablet. Additionally, despite the universality of cameras in laptops, their rare use in business for video conferencing shows it's not just exorbitant infrastructure costs that doomed the Avaya and Cisco tablets."

While Gruman may have a point in that video conferencing is not without its roadblocks, the assumption that the death of a single piece of hardware (Cisco's Cius, here) signifies an overall failure of the industry is an unsound one. Video conferencing can hardly claim to be "rarely used" in the business world; in fact, the release of more affordable video conferencing systems has shown a rise in the use of mobile working technology in the workplace. It's also only continuing to grow as a tool for use in the fields of education, criminal justice, and health care.

The writer asserts that video conferencing cannot hope to replicate human interaction because it attempts to teach humans new behaviors rather than working with innate ones. While it's true that this approach can cause some hesitation and early-stage confusion, it again fails to pan out as a concrete argument against video conferencing. Telephones did not and do not mimic human behavior, nor do computers and keyboards. It seems unfair to assume that because a piece of technology seems unnatural to the user, that it cannot be useful regardless.

What remains in Gruman's argument is an understandable dissatisfaction with the current state of remote collaboration. His standpoint seems to be that the ability to work together on documents and ideas through this technology still seems stunted and awkward, and there may be a point there. However, it's important to remember that we can't expect everything from the technology right out of the gate. As developers continue to refine their products and services, we can expect to see the addition of tools that make collaborative work a more comfortable option. Until then, video conferencing is still a very strong tool for remote communication, and has proven its worth in a wide range of industries - so don't sleep on it!

Facebook gets "Google+ Hangouts"-like video setup

The integration of video conferencing into Google's social networking system Google+ has been one of the strongest unique features that's keeping the service alive. In other areas of social networking, it's hard to compete with Facebook - the internet giant has grown to be one of the most dominant forces in the online world since its humble beginnings in a Harvard dorm. Now, it has been revealed that video service provider ooVoo will extend its free video conferencing calling system to a 12-user module that will be fully integrated into Facebook. PCWorld writer Ed Oswald explains some of the details and features of the upcoming video chat tool:

"A nice feature of ooVoo's Facebook offering is that all users in the chat do not need to be ooVoo members. If the person you are calling isn't a member, the application gives the option to e-mail, post, or text a call link to allow your friend to join in on the call.

ooVoo also uses Facebook as a new method for logging into its service with its iOS and Android apps, which it says simplifies the registration process and allows users to record and upload video chats to the web. That was previously a premium feature."

The versatility included in ooVoo's systems should be a popular feature for social media users looking for the most powerful video chatting systems available. The fact that a service this comprehensive will be offered through Facebook at no charge will put a lot of stress on other video conferencing service providers including Google+, and even Skype. We've already seen companies skyrocket to success through Facebook - gaming developer Zynga is just one example of that.

It remains to see exactly how well ooVoo's video chats will function on Facebook, but one thing's for sure: the social media world is getting its fix of video conferencing.

Getting the most out of video conferencing

Implementing a video conferencing system into your business can be a very exciting and simultaneously daunting experience. It's not dissimilar to getting your first car - you've heard a ton about it, you've done your research, and you know the benefits, but once it's there in front of you, a whole bunch of questions start popping up and you will need to step back and figure out how best to use it. Biztech Magazine recently published an excellent article on how to maximize results with video conferencing. It covers the gamut from the systems and services you choose to how you use it and what you do elsewhere in your business to strengthen its capabilities.

Of the article's many salient points, it begins by making the important note that bandwidth and quality of service (QoS) are of the utmost importance to a high-performing video conferencing system. That is, no matter how robust or thorough the tools you implement may be, they will not be able to produce strong results without the backbone of a strong network support. Additionally, the article makes the note that it is absolutely necessary in the modern day to find a video conferencing system that integrates with current technology at your business. Don't pigeonhole yourself by selecting a software solution that only works on certain machines, some of which you may not have.

Another great topic brought up by Biztech is the need for company-wide policy controls. IT departments should set parameters on who has access to what and when; giving each employee free range of video conferencing systems is not a good idea, neither for your bandwidth nor for the security of your systems and information.

A structured and well thought out approach to video conferencing is the only way that you will be able to reach the technology's full potential. Take special care in planning for its introduction into your business and develop strategies for continuous monitoring of its performance - and how your business approaches it.

Maintain proper etiquette during a video conference

whyGo corporate account is an effective and comprehensive tool for communication that opens up the opportunity for you and your colleagues, friends, and/or family to talk with one another from remote locations in a way that most closely resembles a face-to-face interaction. With that being said, it is important to keep in mind that this method of communication comes with its own rules of etiquette, just as do telephone conversations, Internet correspondence, and so on. Keep in mind the following tips when taking part in a video conference - especially if you're doing it for work! - in order to maintain professionalism and quality of communication.

  • Cut out the background distractions. This means being aware of your physical environment first and foremost - try to be in a place where children, other people, pets, and so on are not mingling around. Turn off televisions and, if you can, make sure the wall behind you isn't overly distracting (for example, a bunch of posters or a window that might cause glare issues). Minimize the audiovisual distractions to ensure that your conferencing partner(s) can see and hear you as best as possible.
  • Mind the mute button! When you aren't talking, your microphone should be muted. This is to cut out any instances of errant breathing, slight movements, or other noises that could cause distraction or interruption. It's a simple habit, and many systems have an option for "Mute when not talking."
  • Try and wait a moment after someone is finished talking before responding. Sometimes, there's lag, and sometimes, the person might not be finished.

With these tips in mind, you are well on your way to taking part in a respectful and effective video conference. Enjoy.

Reasons to hold a video conference

Video conferencing technology is an exciting and unique way of communicating with one or more other remote parties for a variety of reasons. The rapid developments in the technology have made it possible for people from all areas of the world to take advantage of this form of communication on a number of platforms. You can now use video conferencing tools on PCs, mobile phones, tablets, and more. You can use it to talk to someone across the ocean or just across town. Let's take a look a ta couple of instances in which video conferencing can improve your communications and benefit you in a major way.

One of the primary functions of video conferencing is to provide you with a way of communicating with multiple parties. If you need to talk with two or more other people about anything from business to personal planning, a video conference may be the optimal solution. Conference phone calls are difficult to set up and involve a lot of accidental interruption. Video conferencing lets you see when someone is done talking and it makes communication a lot easier.

You could use video conferencing to plan a party for a friend, to collaborate on business projects, to work on school projects together, and much more. It's also useful for keeping in touch with friends and family - if you're away at college and want to stay close with people from back home, you can set up a video conferencing system to have regular chats with them in a more intimate setting than a phone conversation.

Take advantage of video conferencing in your home or place of business and see what you've been missing!

Video Conference Mistakes To Avoid

A video conference is a wonderful communication tool for collaborating with remote colleagues because you can see them as well as hear all they have to say. On the other hand, it can lead to mistakes because you are seen as well as heard.

Don't use your cell phone. It is rude, despite being increasingly common in social situations. Looking at your phone is visual proof that you are not valuing the people you are talking to. The same principle applies to working on a different project during the video conference; they can see you ignoring them.

Be aware of clothing standards in your industry and in the cultures you are connecting to. If you wouldn't dress like that in a meeting taking place in the same room, don't dress like that for a meeting via video conference. Research any cross-cultural issues that can be avoided by being aware of hand gestures and the like. For instance, in the US the hand gesture for "OK" is definitely NOT OKAY in other parts of the world.

Pay attention to background noise. The microphone that picks up the sound of your voice also picks up the sound of the fingers drumming on a desk or the conversational asides you make to your friend. Don't have servers preparing a meal or people working behind you. It's distracting.

Don't be late to the conference. Video conferences are more convenient, but they take a lot of coordination and you are abusing everyone else's time. If you are unavoidably late, apologize.

Don't dive into the discussion without introducing everyone to each other. If you all know each other, introduce the focus of this particular meeting so everybody is on the same mental page.

Interrupting a speaker is trickier with video conferencing because there is a time lag. You may want to raise your hand instead to avoid the stutter of delayed responses.

Our Video Conferencing Meeting Tips a offer positive steps to make your video conference a success.

Video Meeting? Or Video Collaboration?

Are your video conferences simply a string of oral reports on individual progress or are they actual collaborations of communicating back and forth to accomplish a goal?

Part of the reason why people avoid meetings is the way a meeting is conducted. If your video conference agenda does not allow time for collaboration after a presentation (or even during one), then the average attendee will tune out until it is their turn to speak. This happens in any meeting, actually, but the tendency can be greater in cases where a diverse network of devices is connected for a video meeting since the locations can vary from a rented videoconferencing room to a smartphone in a coffee shop.

To counteract this natural human proclivity, take advantage of the ability to schedule quick conferences with the Outlook plug-in. Teams can flag a meeting as a regular or reoccurring event to make it possible to connect all the endpoints in one task and get everyone together for a quick conference about a sudden challenge or a brainstorming session. Once you have the plug-in, all the potential configurations in the Outlook calendar are yours to manipulate just the way you need it.

Only you know the specific needs of your own business conferencing goals. But every business needs to go past collecting information to the analysis and strategic planning that becomes profitable action. Think through how to go from that string of oral reports to include collaboration and your meetings will be much more effective.

3 Ways To Avoid Video Conferencing Fiascos

Video Conferencing Fiascos

We all kind of love watching fiascos -- those humiliating catastrophic videos of things gone wrong -- when they happen to someone else. The blooper reel is a popular form of entertainment because we all make mistakes and can identify with the subject but we don't want to be the star in "Things Gone Wrong At The Video Conference".

A video conference is where you are trying to get things accomplished. In order to do this, you must keep these three things in mind:

  1. Be prepared. This covers all the details leading up to the beginning of the video conference. Have your material ready, check your connections and equipment to make sure they work, go to the bathroom before it starts, make sure the area will be quiet and the lighting is adequate. If you are on a device, the battery should be fully charged or plugged into a power source.
  2. Remember they can see you. Don't do that business-attire-above-the-waist thng. You don't know if you will have to get up and display your fireballs pajama bottoms to your coworkers when you need to get something. They can see you scratch what itches, too. The expressions on your face are part of the value of video conferencing but it backfires if you are rolling your eyes or smirking at another's contributions.
  3. Remember they can hear you. If you are one of the cell-phone-in-the-bathroom crowd, you might think it's ok to wear your microphone in there, so you don't miss out on important details of the meeting. This is a bad idea, almost guaranteed to make a funny story someone tells the next day. Any side remarks, cell phone game noises, and texting taps are going to be heard. If you are joining the conference from a coffee shop or your living room, background noises are going to be picked up in your mic.

You'll find more video conferencing advice on the Resource Page at whyGo. With a global network of public and private video and telepresence facilities, we help video conferences be a success instead of a fiasco.

How To Avoid A Video Conference Disappointment

Video conferencing is in use around the world, in the home, and in the workplace. But many people find this technology disappointing, and that experience is easy to avoid with some simple suggestions. The most important factors of a successful video conference are:

  • hearing every person easily -- understanding what is said
  • seeing every person easily -- good eye contact with everybody
  • using equipment easily -- technology isn't confusing or distracting

Disappointment comes when something interferes with the sound or sight while communicating; things like a cell phone going off, people doing other tasks while talking, or distracting background noises or locations. But, some things may be fine in one country and a distraction in another. Someone from France might not see non-business attire as distracting as their colleague in India would view the same outfit, for instance. It helps to do your research and do what you can to control the video conference setting.

One tool to help your research is Polycom's Guide to Collaborating Across Borders. This is the result of their recent survey on global video conferencing use and is an interesting compilation of data with suggestions. Another tool is whyGo's Video Conferencing Meeting Tips, a short overview of what will make your experience profitable.

Your best tool for avoiding disappointment in a video conference is the team at whyGo. Our three global operations centers in Australia, United Kingdom, and United States of America ensure our live inventory network of public video conferencing facilities has support all the time, no matter where you are. We can answer your questions, suggest solutions, and provide fast, efficient service to all parties using our network.


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