Like most of America, CCP Global’s consultants and administrative personnel have been working fully remotely since mid-March when the pandemic shut down most face-to-face interactions.
That means we’ve done a lot of business by phone, chat and, of course, video conferencing. One of our senior consultants notes that she has found video chats to be a critical success factor to her fully remote Ariba projects.
”As much as everyone hates having to jump on video chats, it is especially convenient during Explore phase workshops where you may have 15-20 people on a call together,” she says. “Video makes it possible to physically see who is talking, quickly identify if someone is talking on mute and avoid people talking over each other. Best of all, it allows you to put a face to a name, which is great when you can’t meet clients in person.”
Don’t Be That Potato
Most of us have heard the story of the woman who accidently turned herself into a potato before a big meeting and couldn’t figure out how to mash herself back to a human.
Fortunately, potato lady was the boss; there are plenty of similar stories that probably didn’t end as happily.
But it’s not just filters; you don’t want to be that couch potato either. The staff at CCP Global agrees that just because you’re at home, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to be too casual. Clients are impressed by professionalism, maybe even more so if you can pull it off at home.
One of our consultants has a lot of experience across a lot of video platforms and she recommends these tips for more effective video meetings:
- Be prepared
- Be professional in speaking and dress
- Practice with the collaboration tool before the meeting so you’re not fumbling with the tools in real time
- Do not eat, chew or slurp (unless you’re on mute)
- Utilize the chat feature to let people know if you have to step away or leave early instead of interrupting the meeting
But her most important tip may simply be to remember that people might miss the warmth of face-to-face contact. Even in a professional setting, she notes, it can feel so much more collaborative if you spend the energy making people feel welcome in the meeting. like you are sitting in the same room.
Along those same lines, don’t forget that the people in your organization that are feeling isolated from one another as well. In that case, social video software for internal team building, like House Party can come to your rescue. They even have trivia and games that could be used for team building/happy hours. Just be aware that attendance is capped at eight which makes it best for small teams.
And Speaking of Filters…
We’ve already agreed that silly filters are a no-no, but there are some tools that can help you, and your surroundings, look their best on camera.
Zoom is a popular video conferencing platform with a couple of handy features. One is the video enhancement filter that makes your skin look smooth and polished. Another is virtual backgrounds you can use if you don’t want anyone to see your messy room.
However, the backgrounds can have a downside. For example, using a beach background when you’re supposedly hard at work in the office? That might lead to some confusion as to whether you’re really working or snuck off for a vacation. Picking something more professional is probably a wise idea.
Of course, you can plan everything down to the last hair-in-place, but working from home will always be a bit of a gamble. If you have kids, pets, or even just any kind of life at all, at some point it WILL interfere with your video call and everyone knows that things happen. That’s fine and something no one can anticipate or should stress over.
It’s the things you CAN control that are important. That’s what makes a professional.
There are a lot of video conferencing programs available now and PC Mag offers a comprehensive review of all of them in their time review of The Best Video Conferencing Software for 2020.
As we noted in last week’s blog post, CCP Global uses Microsoft Teams extensively for collaboration and it’s a favorite tool for video conferencing as well.