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Tips and tricks for web conferences and online meetings

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Why are video conferences often so tedious?

 

We’ve all been there: Blurry image, un-muted microphones while another person is speaking, audio tracks set too low, and all sorts of technical problems are annoying and play havoc with our perception. But all of these can be avoided. In general, well-prepared video conferences are not tedious – thanks to good sound quality, good lighting, participants observing netiquette, or a central “un-mute” option.

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What happens to our perception in virtual meetings?

In virtual meetings, we are greatly restricted in our perception. In an actual meeting, you get the vibes by just glancing at people. Gestures, facial expressions and postures provide a distinct feedback. How does a person sit on their chair? Do they give a slight nod, a minute raising of their eyebrows? In a video conference, we have to do without this level of information. To make up for this lack, our “antennae” are constantly on the lookout for these signals. In addition, we are distracted by our own non-virtual environment. All of this is fatiguing and requires a high degree of concentration which becomes the harder to maintain the longer the meeting continues.

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How can we avoid fatigue?

  • Be considerate: Participants should let each other finish. In addition, specified speaking times should be observed.

 

  • Invest in technical equipment: Tools, Internet connection, hardware – the technical equipment of all participants should be on the same level.

  • Ensure good lighting: Backlight, only partly visible faces or poor image quality – all of these put a strain on the viewer in the long run.

  • Good moderation: Firm moderating is important so that the participants do not constantly cut each other off, and to keep the ball rolling.
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Useful rules for virtual meetings

Do not sit too close to the camera: Show your body language to improve mutual understanding.

  • Virtual hand-raising: Use the helpful online function to inform the mod that you want to say something – don’t interrupt the speaker.

  • Clear structure: The mod should define a clear structure, and adhere to it.

You are planning online conferences – on short notice or well in advance? Contact us. We will be happy to advise.

How do you structure a virtual meeting?

 

  • Topic groups: Divide your meeting into separate topics and short time sections of max. 30 minutes.

 

  • Clearly defined responsibilities: Different participants are responsible for preparing and presenting various topics – results and questions will then be discussed in plenum.

Simultaneous interpreting or subtitling for multi-language conferences?

 

No doubt about it: simultaneous interpretation into the respective native languages. Reading of subtitles while you are following a conference is extremely hard and distracts the audience from the speaker. Surveys showed that listeners grasp only about 30% of the information when relying on subtitles.

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