Seven Steps to a Vital Videoconference

When it's time for your fifteen minutes of fame will you be ready? With videoconferencing becoming common place in 21st century communication, executives, entrepreneurs, and leaders need to be media savvy. Here's how to put your best face forward:

1. Prepare. It's not enough to show up to speak. Practice with the technology an hour before your presentation and rehearse your message points. Don't wing it.

2. Pause and Listen. Expect time delays. A weak video signal could cause a delay or echo. Allow ample time for your message to reach the other site and wait for a response before you resume making new remarks.

3. Use Small Gestures. Actions are amplified on videoconference. Wild, sweeping movements can result in distorted, fuzzy images.

4. Appoint a Moderator. The moderator facilitates the meeting, introduces guests, and keeps the presentation movoing. The moderator or a designated person operates the technology to free speakers to focus on the message.

5. Dress for TV. Avoid distracting jewelry, shiny clothing, and large, bold patterns. Keep another shirt or blouse in the office for late day videoconferences. Perspiration stains and wrinkles will be noticeable on video. Keep powder handy for shiny noses and bald spots.

6. Create a Connection. Begin with hello. The wave is a standard greeting in videoconferencing. Use the zoom function on the camera to establish eye contact. It's difficult to communicate without viewing facial expressions from the remote site.

7. Minimize Distractions. Keep noise down by restricitng movement in and out of the room. Turn off all beepers and cell phones at the beginning of the meeting. Place a "Do Not Enter" sign on the door and change activities frequently to maintain attention and avoid the boredom factor.

Nothing can replace in-person communication. But if you master the techniques of online communication, videoconferencing is the next best thing to being there.

Copyright Diane DiResta, 2004. All rights reserved.

Diane DiResta is President of DiResta Communications, Inc.,a New York City based consultancy. She is author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz (Chandler House Press)

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