Corona pandemic

Profit from video conferences

In times of the Corona virus many people are forced to work from their home. But what can furniture dealers and manufacturers, who primarily live from the stationary trade and whose biggest strength is personal consulting do? How can the industry best communicate with their customers, suppliers and own employees? One solution: per video conferences.

Mar 23 2020

This works quite simply: Various software solutions enable you to stay in contact with employees and business partners online - and what's more face to face. We are presenting a selection of practical video conference tools in this article and are also giving you a few useful tips on how you can get the most out of the information exchange via Skype, Zoom & co. 

3 practical video conference tools and their functions

Skype: Audio and video calls

Skype can be used not only to chat, the instant messaging service also allows voice or video conferences. Up to 24 people can take part in an HD video call simultaneously. Furthermore, presentations with customers or colleagues can also be shared. 

The soft focus for the background is a nice function too. This places the focus on the speaker, rather than the background. Beyond this, there is also the possibility to record business telephone calls and important screen contents so they can be reviewed later on. The video conference software is free of charge and can be used on any appliance.

Zoom: Conduct virtual events

Anyone, who would like to carry out a brainstorming with colleagues, customers or suppliers, a webinar or a virtual event, can't do without Zoom. The video conference tool supports high-resolution video conferences for up to one thousand video participants and 49 videos on the screen. 

The host has the total control over the conference. For example, he can decide whether he presents the participants his entire screen or only selected applications. Moreover, he can hand over the control of the mouse and keyboard to others. In addition, diverse e-mail or calendar applications can be linked up with the tool per Plug-in. 

On top of this, there are a few further interesting functions, for instance sending text messages, interactive screens, a whiteboard function as well as the activation of surveys, questions and answers. 

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is much more than a pure video conference tool. The application can more or less be used as a hub for the entire team.  This tool allows all employees of a department or a project group to be grouped into "teams". It is additionally also possible to create individual channels for specific themes. 

Files can be jointly processed or shared. A synchronisation with one's own Outlook calendar is also possible, as well as an extension to include apps like Trello or Zoom.

HD audio or video discussions also fall under the additional features. Beyond this, it is also possible to communicate privately with individual people or chat with the entire team via the closed groups. Microsoft Teams is available for smartphones, tablets and desktop appliances. 

Tips for a successful video conference

  1. Carry out a technical check beforehand to make sure no unnecessary disturbances occur during the virtual meeting. Make sure that you have a stable Internet connection and check your headset is working (headphone with microphone) as well as your webcam. Familiarise yourself with the chosen video conference solution too.
  2. The same rules apply for the home office as for the office. Make sure your desk is tidy, the background is neutral and that there are good lighting conditions.
  3. Even if it is very tempting: Don't take part in the video conference wearing a track suit or other leisurewear - after all your counterpart can see you! Dress in clothes that you would also wear in the shop or office instead, for example a shirt or blouse with a jacket. 
  4. Dial in for the video conference punctually, ideally one or two minutes before the virtual meeting starts.
  5. Talk slowly and clearly in order to leave a positive impression on your counterpart. Don't interrupt your discussion partners while they are talking. Wait for clear pauses in the discussion instead. A small tip: Smile while talking, this will make you come across as being friendly even if the direct on-site impression is missing.
  6. Also, make sure your microphone is not too close to your mouth, otherwise the other participants may hear your breathing or swallowing noises.
  7. So that your picture isn't unnecessarily blurred, make sure you keep the same distance to the camera and move around as little as possible. 
  8. Concentrate completely and utterly on the discussion. It is of course not only impolite to occupy yourself with other things during a video conference, such as checking e-mails and SMSs – it also diverts the attention from the actual theme at hand.
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