Best Practices

This three part video series helps you understand videoconferencing technology and guides you through some of the best practices for delivering videoconferences, enabling you to better focus on the content of your presentation. For consultation about best practices for supporting and facilitating video conferences, contact your videoconferencing support specialist.

Planning for the Videoconference:

  • Engage support: Contact your videoconferencing support specialist at least 1 week before your videoconference to advise them of the videoconference you will be having. They can provide consultation regarding any questions you may have, test the videoconferencing connections, and provide technical support on the day of the videoconference. If engaged, videoconferencing support specialists are responsible for sending the signals, controlling the lighting, and operating the cameras and mics. They also mitigate the impact of any technical problems and ensure that you have a plan B in case the technology fails. This way, you can focus on interacting instead of worrying about the technology.

  • Get training: If you are unfamiliar with the equipment you will be using or are planning to do the videoconference without technical support, contact us before your videoconference for training.

  • Visit the videoconferencing facility: Ensure that you are familiar with both the space and the equipment.

  • Customize the visuals that you will use during the videoconference: Use high-contrast text and background on slides and documents so they are easy to read.

During the Videoconference:

  • Arrive early: To make sure that everything is ready for the videoconference, arrive 30 minutes early. This will allow time to load any presentation materials, establish connections, and get started on time.

  • Engage your remote audience(s): 

    • Familiarize yourself with the locations of cameras so you know how to remain on-screen all the time and address people at the remote site(s) directly. Project your voice and make eye contact with the cameras when addressing the remote audience(s) to encourage engaged listening. A common mistake is to look at the picture of the audience rather than the camera which makes it appear that you are avoiding "eye contact" with the remote audience(s). 

    • Ask and answer questions to keep the remote audience involved using question slides and directing specific questions to specific sites.

  • Engage your local audience: If you have an audience in the room with you, remember that you will need to divide your attention between them and your remote audience(s).
  • Keep your movements slow and small: Rapid motion may cause a disconcerting "jerky" effect when viewed over the video connection or take you out of the camera's view. Try to move using slow, deliberate motions. These movements will not cause large differences in your position between the transmitted frames. Large motions may take you out of the camera's view. Have a "spot" near which you will stand for the presentation. If you tend to move a lot when you speak, perhaps presenting from a seated position will help. Know where the edges of the camera's view are and don't move past those.
  • Don't make changes during the session: It is tempting to make adjustments if you are experiencing difficulties. Changing the settings can be very distracting and technical support should be engaged when there are problems.
  • Reduce distractions:
    • Sounds: Whenever possible, reduce background noise since it will distract your audience away from you and your presentation. Music, equipment noise, sounds from outside the room, and audience conversations should be kept to a minimum.
    • Visuals: Remove any visual clutter from the camera view. Foliage, paintings, posters, and equipment in the background could detract from your presentation. If possible, try to have distractions removed from the remote site.
  • Dress appropriately: Patterned fabrics tend to cause unwanted visual artefacts and bright colours may be distracting, so choose clothing with a solid, neutral colour to ensure that the audience(s) can focus on you and your presentation rather than your clothing. However, you should also consider the background colour and pick clothing in a contrasting colour to ensure that you will not appear to be a floating head.
  • Be prepared for delays: Allow sufficient time to ensure the remote site has finished when they are speaking since there may be a transmission delay. Further, technical issues can arise which will delay your presentation. Be prepared and patient with such inevitabilities.