Featured Article from Conferencing

What Does it Take to Wow Video Conference Attendees?

May 29, 2017

A video conference is much different than an in-person conference or presentation in many ways. But despite these discrepancies, you must be able to wow attendees and leave them with a positive impression. Once you understand how to do this, you stand a much better chance of being successful in an evolving business world where remote communications are the gold standard.

The Keys to Making a Big Impression over Video

How many times have you found yourself taking part in a video conference, thinking to yourself, “When will this end?” You really want to get on your phone and start scrolling through your social media feeds, but you’re afraid the camera might catch you – so you just sit there in silence, eyes glazed over until someone asks you a question. Suddenly, you’re in the hot seat and you have no idea what’s going on.

We’ve all been there. And while there are dozens of different factors in play, disengaged video conference attendees are almost always a byproduct of boredom. If the individual or group leading the conference isn’t doing a good job of making things interesting and engaging, people are going to zone out.

When it’s your turn to lead a video conference or make a presentation, you have to avoid making the same mistakes. It should be your goal to impress attendees so much so that they’re on the edge of their seats waiting for more. This may sound overly dramatic, but it has to be your primary objective. 

Wowing people over video takes skill and preparation. You can’t just show up, log in, and wing it. You need to have a plan for exactly how everything will unfold. More specifically, you need to make sure you do the following:

Send Information Ahead of Time

Most of today’s leading video conferencing platforms have robust sharing features that allow you to disseminate content to attendees and present slides alongside a live video feed. And while these are useful, there’s a little bit of a disconnection. In a live conference where you’re actually sitting there watching a person deliver a presentation, it’s nice to have a physical packet or sheet in your hand to look at and jot down notes. This is absent in a video setting. 

If you really want to make a strong impression, why not stick with what people are used to and mail printed materials to video conference attendees ahead of time? Most online printing stores – such as Printing Center USA – actually allow you to print and mail catalogs and other marketing materials anywhere you want – including a client’s office – to make the process as easy as possible.

Dress Professionally

Video conferencing has been a staple in the business world for more than a decade and people still don’t know how to dress for the occasion. In order to really wow attendees, you can’t let your attire be a distraction.

“Overly bright or extremely dark colors do not translate well on camera. These colors tend to appear blurry on screen and may interfere with image quality,” social media marketing expert April Whitzman points out. She also notes that it’s best to “avoid busy patterns, such as stripes, animal prints, or plaid. Not only are they highly distracting to the viewer, but they also appear distorted and dizzying on camera.”

So what do you wear? Both men and women need to keep things simple. Neutral or pastel colors and well-fitted clothing are ideal. Small jewelry accents – such as a watch for men and a simple necklace or earrings for women – are fine too.

Choose the Right Background

One of the more noticeable elements in any video conference is the background the presenter is situated against. If you make a lot of video presentations, it may be best to have a specific background in your office that you use just for the purpose of conferencing. It needs to be simple and distraction-free.

Windows and mirrors aren’t usually ideal, as they can cause glares. It’s also not smart to have your camera facing a direction where other people can walk by and slip into the frame. A solid, stationary background or basic wall with a bookshelf or framed pictures works well.

Personalize the Presentation

Video communication is challenging. There’s a barrier that isn’t present when you’re physically in the same room as the other people. Having said that, be sure to personalize the presentation so that people feel welcome. Start with some brief small talk, call out attendees by name, and leave time at the end for questions and feedback. The more you’re able to personalize the experience, the more engaged people will be.

Be Sure to Disconnect

The final tip is a word of caution more than anything else. If you’ve been involved in video calls for a long enough period of time, you’ve inevitably had an experience where a conference ends, someone thinks they’ve logged out, and then start complaining or laughing about something that was said. The only problem is that they’re still connected and everyone else can hear them. Pro tip: double check that you’re disconnected after a call ends.

Successful Video Conferencing: An Art Form

Millions of books have been sold on how to be a persuasive speaker and make money delivering keynote speeches. Hundreds of courses are sold on how to deliver a good pitch at a conference. YouTube is filled with content on presentation best practices. But one thing is noticeably absent: video conferencing.

Despite the fact that we operate in a business world where video conferencing is the way of the future, there’s very little conversation surrounding how to be a good presenter. This is a shame since it’s such an integral part of being successful in modern business.

As you look for new ways to enhance your career and become a more persuasive figure in your company, niche, and industry, learning how to wow people via video is something you’ll definitely want to invest in.

The tips outlined in this article are just the starting point.