What makes a good conference

33 tips for a successful video conference

15. Preparation


Preparation is half the battle. Much can be foreseen, especially since there is often a topic and items on the agenda.




16. Duration of a video conference


Since the attention span on the phone is lower than at an on-site meeting, you should not confer for longer than an hour. Everyone then has to adhere to this time limit. Think of Parkinson's Law, which states that duration expands to whatever amount is available to you.




17. Choice of location


In addition to the preparation of the content, which is part of every meeting, there is also the search for the right environment for telephone and video conferences. The room should be as quiet as possible. Disturbances from other employees are to be avoided.

Not every place is equally suitable for every form of conversation. When accepting calls, the personal influence on the background noise is somewhat greater than when we, for example, accept a call on the mobile phone while on the move. However, it is also important to identify ambient noises and potential disturbances while on the move and, if necessary, switch to a more suitable location. Having children and comedians around is often not a good idea. I know what I'm talking about; across from my office is the zoo. And when the window is open, the screaming monkeys and roaring lions can certainly irritate conversation partners.




18. Technology


All participants should have dealt with the technology beforehand so that it does not become a disruptive factor. In my observations, I have made the experience that there are almost always participants who fail because of the technology.




19. Take notes


Pen and pad are within easy reach. Take notes during the conversation. Corresponding checklists have proven themselves very well for this. Examples of helpful questions and their answers are:

  • What was agreed?
  • Who does what now?
  • Who should be informed?




20th vote


The voice plays an important role in the success of a conference. It is important that those involved are always aware of the particular acoustic challenge. “So it makes sense to speak slowly and clearly. The conversation partners understand just as little mumbling as a contribution made by a participant with one hand in front of their mouth. In a separate article you will find numerous recommendations for an essential tool for telephone calls, your voice. Many people take them for granted and think they don't have to worry about them any longer. What a shame, because it leaves a lot to chance. Do better, use your voice purposefully.




21. Let me finish


Sometimes we already have the answer on the tip of the tongue and the other person is still talking. Basically, however, it is a question of good communication and respect to let other people finish speaking. Some technical solutions do not work duplex, so only one participant will be heard at a time, and that requires additional discipline. Otherwise it will be a very ticked-off conversation.




22. Body language



It is better not to gesticulate too wildly with your hands. This is often irritating, especially when the hands are in the picture and then they are not.




23. Standard German


Preferably speak Standard German or whatever language has been agreed, as well as you can. Dialect assumes that the person you are talking to understands it well and perceives it as positive.




24. Listen


Whoever listens is better informed, can better assess the mood of the conversation partner, and comes across as empathetic and appreciative. Encouraging others to speak up calms even aggressive contemporaries because they feel that they are being taken seriously. So, let the other person speak to you. Listen carefully, ask questions if you have not understood something exactly or if there is room for interpretation. Repeat important information. If you want to find out more about the sensitivities and desires of your interlocutor, use active listening.




25. Report


Communication takes place on different levels, but often it starts at the factual level, where the relationship level is still shaky. Therefore, promote the rapport in a respectful attitude so that at least a sufficiently stable basis for the exchange is available. There are numerous techniques to choose from for this. They are as good as the inner attitude towards interlocutors. You can find more about this in the article Rapport: 21+ Tips for Better Communication.



26. Smart agreements


Here, too, the smart format is ideal for agreements. The donkey bridge has proven itself. It's a technique that helps you define goals more clearly, make agreements more constructive. The more understandably a goal is defined, the easier it will be to achieve it. The individual letters of the word SMART represent the criteria for well-formed goals.

SMART stands for:

  • S - specific
  • M - measurable
  • A - appropriate and attractive
  • R - realistic
  • T - terminated

A detailed description can be found in the article Smart goal setting, smart goals; I am happy that we are in agreement.




27. Rules of etiquette


In order not to disturb the conversation, everyone involved should behave in a disciplined manner. Eating and drinking are not a good idea, although a conference coffee has a warming effect, whereas a crunchy biscuit is annoying. Punctuality, on the other hand, is even more important than in a face-to-face meeting.




28. Formulate positively


Rely on positive formulations and avoid negative statements.




29. Murphy's Law


It is in the nature of Murphy's Law to remind yourself exactly when it is most annoying. It is therefore worthwhile to design the prerequisite as optimally as possible. This includes, for example, that cordless phones are always well charged. It rarely makes a good impression if the call is interrupted or even ended in the middle by the battery charge warning.




30. Make only promises what you can keep


Despite or because of the physical distance, too often promises are made with increasing distance that cannot be kept. This damages the relationship and is remembered. So make a promise what you can keep. They are also welcome to exceed that.




31. Summarize at the end


Once the content of the video conference has been completed or the agreed time has been reached, the moderator ends the conversation politely and smoothly. To do this, he summarizes the content of the conversation and mentions the next steps.




32nd Protocol


Who writes stays! In fact, hardly anyone writes minutes of their own free will. But only the documentation ensures that the information finds its recipient and agreements can be kept.




33. Support


Prepare important discussions well; professional support may be worthwhile. Please feel free to contact me for communication support. My profile gives you tips on what you can benefit from. However, I do not provide legal advice.