When attending or hosting a web conference using software like Google Meet or Zoom, establishing good audio and video, and following other best practices, will be beneficial for the other meeting participants.  Please follow the guidance on this page to make the most out of your meeting.

Before the web conference begins

Set up your space

  1. Find a quiet location, free from distractions.
  2. Use a wired ethernet connection when possible, as this is more reliable than wi-fi.
  3. Try to face towards the brightest light source in the room (like a window).  A desk lamp may be used to help, but occasionally these will introduce undesirable harsh shadows.  Be sure that there are no bright lights or windows behind you.
  4. Be mindful that the space behind you will be shown — Tidy up or strategically arrange objects as needed.
  5. Try to place the camera an arm’s length or further from you.  This will be a comfortable framing that keeps you from feeling too close to other participants.
  6. Adjust the height of your webcam so that it is at your eye level.  Something as simple as putting sturdy books under a laptop will work fine.
  7. If you have access to it, use an external USB microphone.  These can be desktop mics or a headset.

Get comfortable with the software

  1. Set up a meeting to be a practice.  Invite a few colleagues to join, or conduct it solo.  Make sure your camera and microphone work and that you’re familiar with the features of your software.  This is a great way to get comfortable and work out any trouble spots before your actual session.
  2. If you have questions, you can contact the ITS Support Center.

During the web conference

For all participants

  1. Make sure anyone in your remote location knows you are on a web conference and shouldn’t be disturbed.
  2. Try to look into your camera any time you speak.  It is natural to look at your screen; however, by looking into your camera, it will feel more personal for other attendees.
  3. Mute your microphone when not talking.  Sometimes microphones will pick up extra noise, which can be very distracting.
  4. Mute or disable your video if not needed, especially as a participant.  This helps with bandwidth and will provide better audio communication.
  5. Be mindful that others may need to speak as well.  When speaking, be succinct.  After having spoken, leave a pause for others if they need clarification.
  6. Keep a pair of headphones close by.  If you start experiencing ‘echo’, wearing headphones may help.
  7. Utilizing the chat function is a nice way to engage in minor conversation, such as sharing links, troubleshooting the web conference, or other smaller discussions.

For meeting hosts

  1. Try to show up a little early.  If others join in early, conducting light conversation is a great way to warm up.
  2. Start recording, if that is desired.
  3. Adapting to this form of communication can be challenging — What would normally be a room full of head nods, audible cues, raised hands, and even the occasional pair closed eyes, is no longer visible.  As a host, you may at best see a few participants’ webcams, but it can feel very one directional, especially at the beginning.  Don’t hesitate to ask extra questions, or specifically ask for feedback; this can be reassuring.
  4. Consider asking a tech-friendly member of the group to help facilitate in the chat, which can take the load off of you when speaking.

After the web conference

  1. End the recording, if one was started.
  2. Copy and save any comments or chats that you would like to archive.
  3. If hosting, stick around until most people have left, as if it were a class.  There may be helpful conversations that come up during this time.

For more information, or to discuss equipment requests, please contact Academic ITS.