We’re living in strange times and our face-to-face interactions have been very much restricted. As much as this has made networking, business, learning and socialising with friends difficult, we’ve also found creative solutions to make sure we stay connected. If you haven’t used a video conferencing system by now, we’d be very surprised! Video conferencing software has been around for a very long time. But there has been a sharp increase in its prevalence throughout 2020. With platforms such as Zoom recording a 20 fold increase in “annualised meeting minutes” from 100 billion at the end of January 2020 to a massive two trillion at the end of April 2020. It has become very much a necessity and an incredibly popular way to connect with other people.

So, without being able to meet in person safely, how do we capitalise and improve on our virtual interactions? Specifically when it comes to using video conferencing software. Firstly we need to find the right video conferencing system for us and that relies on a few factors.

Value-adding features

Do you need to share documents whilst on call to make sure you’re not flicking in and out of the conversation? Perhaps you want to share your screen with everyone. Take a look at how easy this is when researching what video conferencing system to use. Maybe you want to be able to use a chat function at the same time to save the hub-bub of everyone talking over each other whilst in a meeting.

These are all things that add value to your conference calls and keep people engaged.

Security and privacy

Security and privacy online is a big thing now and whilst using a video conferencing system it should be no different. Whilst doing your research look into what particular video conferencing systems are doing to protect you and your participant’s privacy and security. Things like making sure your communications are securely protected or that your videos are encrypted.

Do you have control over who can drop in on your meetings? Ideally, you’ll want to be able to invite and accept users so it doesn’t become a free for all. Importantly make sure the video conferencing system you’re using is compliant to all your local laws when it comes to privacy and data protection. You’ll be able to find a lot of this information on the provider’s website. It’s best to know all of this before starting a meeting for peace of mind for you and your participants.

Accessibility and user-friendliness

We want to make sure that the video conferencing system we’re using are easy to use. You need to be able to convince people to join your meetings. If it becomes a complicated process to join, people will soon be put off.

Is it a single click to get connected or do you have to download an app? Perhaps you already use a suite within your business that provides video conferencing system options and is already fully integrated. For example, are you using Microsoft 365, if so you can easily integrate Microsoft Teams into what you’re doing already? You could be using the G-suite from Google so, maybe you’d be swayed to be using Google Hangouts instead?

It’s also the simple things like how easy is it to allow people to message, turn their mic and cameras on or off. It may also be important to be able to easily spotlight people, take control of their microphones by muting or unmuting and easily reply to messages sent to you.

Ultimately the easier to use and control the better!

What next?

Using a video conferencing system is now unavoidable and it’s becoming very much the norm. By doing your due diligence and researching what you video conferencing system you use carefully, you’ll be able to provide a service and experience that people will enjoy. Don’t be afraid to explore your options to find the right one for you. Make sure you take everything mentioned above into account. If you’re struggling with what to do or how to approach your next step we’re here to help you.