Videoconferencing Tips

e-Health

Videoconferencing Tips

he following tips are provided for presenters, participants and facilitators of education and related sessions.

General Guidelines

Basic Etiquette

  • Avoid wearing plaids or stripes, whites or reds. Solid colors and minimal jewelry are best
  • Avoid unnecessary movements & noise - shuffling papers, shifting your chair, and sudden moves are distracting to others.
  • Speak in a normal tone of voice. There should be no need to yell!
  • If you are often told to speak up, or slow down, adjust your voice and speech so that everyone can hear you.
  • Relax! Enjoy the fact that you didn't have to travel very far for this session!

Tips for Presenters:

  • Take time to plan your session or presentation. Allow time for questions from your live audience AND the remote sites.
  • Make sure any handouts such as agendas are faxed or emailed to the remote sites well before the session.
  • If possible, do a practice session with the equipment to avoid any unwanted surprises during a live session!
  • Arrive early to prepare and organize - 15-30 minutes should do it!
  • Make eye contact with the remote sites by looking into your main camera. This will make the remote sites feel part of the presentation. This is easy to forget if you have a large live audience too!
  • Make sure the remote sites are provided the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the presentation
  • If questions are asked from the presenting site, make sure the participants at the remote sites hear the question.

Power Point Presentations

The following suggestions will help you maximize PowerPoint for optimal viewing at both the local and remote sites.

  • Prepare slides in landscape view
  • Use a larger font size: at least 32 for text and 44 for headings
  • Avoid italics
  • Leave a minimum 1-inch margin on all borders
  • Keep fonts simple and consistent
  • Fonts "with feet" are easier to read (Century Gothic, Courier, Times New Roman)
  • Fonts "without feet" make nice titles (Verdana, Arial, Tahoma)
  • Limit the number of words you put on a page:
    • Avoid paragraphs
    • Use succinct phrases instead of sentences
    • Use bullet points but limit each slide to 5 bullet points
  • Choose color combinations with high contrast to ensure readability (e.g. white letters on a dark blue background)
  • Keep graphics simple. Avoid complex tables and scatter plots, as they do not transmit well. Use simple bold tables, pie charts or bar graphs;
  • Avoid animation or special effects
  • Have a second medium available (e.g. a hard copy transmitted by document camera);
  • Distribute copies of the presentation to all participating sites prior to the videoconference

Tips for Remote Site Participants:

  • Be on time! Often the presenting site will do a roll call to make sure all participating sites are connected and ready for the session.
  • Keep noise to a minimum. The microphone is VERY sensitive, and the slightest noise can disrupt a session. It is good videoconferencing etiquette to keep your microphone MUTED when your site is not speaking.
  • Be patient as the video switches from one site to another as there is a slight delay.
  • Before asking a question or making a comment, always introduce yourself and your site. This helps in allowing time for the video to switch to your site.
  • Participate! Usually presenters leave time at the end of their sessions for questions and answers. Write yours down and ask them when the time comes!

Tips for Session Facilitators

  • Plan your session carefully. Video-conferencing sessions require a little more time than face-to-face sessions.
  • Timing is important - if your conference uses a bridge, the session is scheduled to end at a specific time. On days when the bridge is heavily booked, a time extension may not be possible.
  • Distribute all materials to the participating sites well ahead of time
  • Provide a list of participating sites to the presenter so that each site is given the opportunity to ask questions.
  • At the beginning of the session, do a roll call of the participating sites to ensure that everyone is online and have a good audio and video connection.
  • Ask the remote sites to mute their microphones during the presentation
  • Make sure the remote sites are provided the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the presentation
  • If questions are asked from the presenting site, provide a microphone to the person asking the question or have the presenter repeat the question. This allows participants at remote sites to hear the question.
  • Have the presenter stay in front of the podium microphone rather than walking around the room. This allows participants at remote sites to see and hear the presenter.