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Updated Nov 07, 2023

10 Tips for Conducting an Effective Video Conference Call

Video calls have their challenges. Here's how to conduct a successful call every time.

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Jennifer Dublino, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
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While video calls have existed for many years, we all became intimately familiar with them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, video calls are an integral element of everyday business communication. Video calls facilitate working from home, connecting to field offices and meeting with distant clients face-to-face. 

Just like in-person meetings, video calls have their challenges. Meeting hosts must prepare and prevent distractions to impact and influence attendees effectively.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right video conferencing service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to be connected with vendors that can help.

Tips for conducting an effective video conference call

Many employees have transitioned to long-term work-from-home arrangements. Today’s businesses often offer remote work options as a flexible benefit. Remote meetings are a natural outcome of remote work, making video conference calls necessary for smooth operations. 

Consider the following 10 tips and best practices to ensure your video conference calls run efficiently and effectively. 

1. Download software updates before the video conference.

Nothing creates panic in a video conferencing host like a software update that downloads as a meeting begins. To avoid this issue, launch the software and check for updates hours before the call. This will provide ample time for updates to download without impacting your online meeting.

Reboot your computer and relaunch the software to ensure everything is set up correctly. If any dashboard changes were made in the update, this extra time allows you to do a brief overview and be prepared to host an efficient call better.

2. Join the video conference early.

Whether you are an experienced conference host or not, technical difficulties happen. Avoid unpredictable challenges by testing your equipment ahead of time. Ensure your microphone and video camera work effectively. Join the meeting early to ensure your connection is stable and that sound and video aren’t lagging. 

If you’re hosting the conference, arriving early will also help guarantee you’re the first to join, allowing you to welcome participants as they join.

TipBottom line
Test your online meeting technology thoroughly before your video conference to spot and solve technical glitches. Also, utilize proven services such as Nextiva to ensure error free conferencing.

3. Assume your video conference audience knows nothing.

Many video conferencing platforms exist; not everyone will be familiar with them. Assume your audience knows nothing about the platform. After opening your call, briefly familiarize your audience with the location of tools, such as mute, chat and any group conversation boards. 

With exceptionally large audiences, establish ground rules for participants. Invite people to ask questions by posting to the group board or messaging you directly. Use the host tools to auto-mute participants until it’s time for questions and comments. This will help reduce unnecessary noise and distractions for other participants.

Did You Know?Did you know
According to Gartner, 86 percent of companies use video conferencing as part of the hiring process to conduct interviews. Additionally, 66 percent of job seekers prefer video conferencing to other communication tools during recruitment.

4. Consider a video conference producer.

If you’re hosting a large virtual meeting with many attendees, consider bringing on a producer. A producer can be a co-worker or a professional. Producers can do the following: 

  • Facilitate the necessary tools to keep the meeting running smoothly. 
  • Prevent the host from becoming distracted or overwhelmed while answering questions or transitioning between screens. 
  • Manage the chat room.
  • Help with screen-sharing tools.
  • Assist with recording options. 

Producers are a great way to allow the host to focus on the message.

5. Avoid awkward, dead air during a video conference.

Pauses are necessary for effective conversation. They help listeners connect to what is said and allow the speaker to deliver a point with impact. However, excess dead air is awkward and amateur. Here are some tips for avoiding dead air: 

  • If you’re having technical difficulties or waiting on other attendees, let your audience know. 
  • Keep your screen share open so they can see what’s shared. 
  • Communicate any hiccups as they occur. 
  • As new audience members join, welcome them and share that time is needed as others join.

6. Wear office-appropriate attire during video conferences.

Your video conferences should have an unofficial dress code to ensure professionalism. Inappropriate or distracting clothing can be disruptive. If you’re the host, remember that participants can only see you from the chest up, so avoiding loud patterns and colors is essential. Too many accessories can also detract from your message, such as too much jewelry and bulky scarves.

7. Clear the clutter in your video conference background.

The great thing about video calls is that you can join from anywhere, anytime. The problem is that attendees often don’t pay adequate attention to their surroundings before starting their videos. 

Before you begin:

  • Take stock of what is within range of the camera.
  • Choose a well-lit area without a backlight that casts a shadow.
  • Check what’s behind you.
  • Ensure there are not too many visual distractions for others to see.
  • Clean and organize your workspace so attendees don’t witness mountains of paperwork, books or supplies in your area.

8. It’s all about the angle during a video conference.

You don’t have to be a movie star to know your most flattering angles. Place your camera in a position that allows your head to remain in a neutral position. This provides a flattering angle for your face while eliminating distractions caused by poor camera placement. No one wants to look up at your nose, ceiling fan or the top of your head. 

Consider your video conference as you would like a face-to-face conversation. Make eye contact at eye level to ensure the best connection and always utilize proper lighting.

9. Avoid excess noise during a video conference.

You may not always participate in or conduct a video conference call from an office. You may be at home, a local coffee shop or in a central community area. Finding a quiet place to host and attend video meetings is always best. 

Regarding background noise, keep the following in mind: 

  • Barking dogs will distract you and other attendees. Keep animals confined to an area far removed from your computer. 
  • If you’re wearing a Bluetooth headset, be aware they pick up and amplify background noise. 
  • If you’re at a coffee shop, note that every attendee will hear the espresso machines. 
  • In a community area, noise conditions may change as people move in and out of your workspace.  

10. Have (and stick to) an agenda for your video conference.

Knowing what information you want to communicate and receive from attendees ahead of time will keep your video call on schedule and on topic. Write out an agenda and ensure you move through it during the call. It’s also a good idea to review the agenda with the participants at the beginning of the call so they know what to expect and what topics should be discussed offline.

TipBottom line
Other video conferencing and webinar etiquette tips include speaking slowly, avoiding wordy slides and repeating questions before replying.

Benefits of video conferencing

Video conferences bring many benefits to businesses, including the following:

  • Video conferences boost efficiency: Virtual tools increase business productivity and efficiency, preserving time and resources.  
  • Video conferences connect remote workers: Video conferences help remote workers stay part of the discussion and connect to the organization and their team.  
  • Video conferencing saves money: Virtual conferences reduce the need for business travel, becoming an excellent option for organizations trying to reduce business expenses
FYIDid you know
Ensure your video conferencing setup includes business accommodations for hosts and attendees. For example, communication-related accommodations can include note-taking and services that provide real-time text.

The best business phone systems for video conference calls

The best business phone systems can help you get the most out of your video conferences. Here are some of our top choices for your video conferencing needs:

  • Zoom: Most people think of Zoom when they hear about video conferencing. However, many don’t realize Zoom offers full-featured voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) and unified communications plans for businesses. Of course, video conferencing tools come standard with all of its plans, allowing you to collaborate with different teams, share screens and brainstorm on its virtual whiteboard. Read our Zoom review to learn more. 
  • RingCentral: RingCentral incorporates messaging, voice and video into one easy-to-use interface. A unique feature is its persistent chat-enabled video spaces, letting co-workers “pop in” virtually to chat with you in real time. RingCentral has built-in whiteboard tools with sticky notes, high-definition video meetings, real-time meeting transcriptions and more. Read our RingCentral review to learn more. 
  • GoTo Connect: GoTo Connect’s communication suite includes packages with password management and webinar tools in addition to its VoIP voice solution. It also offers stand-alone solutions for contact centers, training and remote information technology support. Its voice module gives you unmetered calls to more than 50 countries and 5,000 toll-free minutes. Read our GoTo Connect review to learn more.

Video calls are an excellent face-to-face solution

Video calls are an excellent resource for professionals worldwide. They can offer face-to-face solutions when travel is too difficult, costly or too frequent. Knowing how to host an efficient video conference call is critical. The next time you’re tempted to schedule a conference call over the phone, consider using video instead.

Stacey Hanke contributed to this article.

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Jennifer Dublino, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
Jennifer Dublino is an experienced entrepreneur and astute marketing strategist. With over three decades of industry experience, she has been a guiding force for many businesses, offering invaluable expertise in market research, strategic planning, budget allocation, lead generation and beyond. Earlier in her career, Dublino established, nurtured and successfully sold her own marketing firm. Dublino, who has a bachelor's degree in business administration and an MBA in marketing and finance, also served as the chief operating officer of the Scent Marketing Institute, showcasing her ability to navigate diverse sectors within the marketing landscape. Over the years, Dublino has amassed a comprehensive understanding of business operations across a wide array of areas, ranging from credit card processing to compensation management. Her insights and expertise have earned her recognition, with her contributions quoted in reputable publications such as Reuters, Adweek, AdAge and others.
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