VIDEOCONFERENCING TIPS

I. Planning and Preparing

1. Set goals and objectives; provide a clear theme for the class or meeting
2. Create an agenda outlining the topics and order of topics
3. Distant sites are usually connected 15 - 30 minutes early
4. Confirm clear audio and video - check levels of video playback and visual transitions
5. Prepare graphics with proper fonts, sizes and backgrounds - larger fonts are better
6. Stage your background and set lighting - brighter in foreground than behind
7. Don't wear colors that blend with the background. Avoid plaid and stripes
8. Arrive early to prepare. Start and conclude on time - some systems are automated
9. If there is no moderator, assign one at each site, especially with four or more sites
10. Eliminate extraneous distractions and noise. Mute cell phones and avoid noisy bracelets
11. Familiarize yourself with the equipment
12. Obtain contact information (phone numbers) that are accessible prior to and during the conference

II. Delivery

1. If a high degree of interaction is desired, no more than three or four sites should be involved
2. Present friendly facial expressions and good posture - the camera is always on
3. Maintain (level) eye contact with all participants - look into the camera
4. Fluctuate your voice, show enthusiasm, and avoid dull, monotone speech
5. Avoid pacing the floor - stay within camera angle
6. Remind the audience of microphone sensitivity - whispering and pencil tapping are easily heard
7. Always be aware of what participants are viewing at all sites
8. Avoid speaking or lecturing for longer than 10 minutes without a graphic, aid, or changing camera view
9. Know and engage your audience - bring the far sites into the conversation and check for understanding
10. Allow for longer response times
11. When presenting, receiving sites should mute their microphones
12. When sessions last longer than 60 minutes, have clearly defined breaks - muting microphones

III. Participation Strategies

1. Brainstorming
2. Comparing and contrasting
3. Debating
4. Sharing experiences that relate to the topic
5. Discussing in small groups or pairs
6. Answering questions that require explanations - open ended
7. Cooperative small group effort
8. Demonstrating or giving examples
9. Reflecting and active processing