Video conferencing for lawyers is not that complicated though you must behave professionally and be careful enough about security to protect clients' information. By taking the right precautions and using the right tools, it's entirely possible to use video conference successfully and securely.
The following 10 tips are practical for you to make a video conference a great way to enhance collaboration and communication.
1. Set up your meeting space
Meeting professionals from a professional space is essential for lawyers. So make sure to create a clean and professional meeting space with the followings:
- Check the lighting. The meeting space should be well lit, which means anything too harsh or too dim can make it appear as if something is off when you're on video. If possible, use a room with stronger incandescent light (or LED energy-saving lights that imitate incandescent light).
- Adjust the camera position. Though most modern laptops have great built-in cameras, you’ll still need to set the camera in the optimal position. Arrange the camera so it's pointed straight at (or angled slightly down towards) your face—you want to be able to make eye contact while you're on the video, and any tilted-up angles are unflattering.
- Clear the clutter. Ensure the background is neat before the start. Tidy any shelves and keep laundry baskets out of view. If all else fails, sit in front of a blank wall or use a virtual background (see point 9 below).
- Keep distractions to a minimum. It's easier then you think to get distracted during a remote meeting, so take note of background noise (turn other devices down or off), give another household members a heads up that you're about to take a call and keep kids and pets busy.
- Check the connection. The last thing you need is your internet dropping off halfway through a meeting with a client. Be sure to have strong Wi-Fi in the space you're in, or use an Ethernet cable.
2. Test the audio and video quality
Does a test run before a video conference? Set yourself up where you think you'll have the best lighting and sound, and then test it within your chosen video conferencing software. If something isn't working, change it—move rooms, switch up your lighting, or use headphones to ensure that your audio and video quality is solid.
3. Prepare for the meeting
Just as you would for an in-person meeting, make sure everyone involved—including colleagues and clients—has everything they'll need to attend and contribute. Check that you've sent the right meeting link and the password if the meeting is password-protected, and send an agenda so attendees can prepare beforehand.
4. Use some tools
It can be more difficult to keep attendees' attention when you aren't sitting in the same room. Combat distraction and help ensure your meeting time is more productive by coming prepared with relevant slides, documents, and videos to help attendees stay engaged.
5. Learn to share the screen
To make your meeting more productive and interactive, learn how to share your screen (this will vary depending on what video conferencing tool you're using) so that you can showcase visual aids with other conference participants.
6. Know the mute button
Away from the office, a certain amount of background noise is inevitable, so muting yourself when you aren't saying anything makes it significantly easier for everyone to hear (and focus on) the speaker.
While this may not be necessary for a one-on-one video conference, muting yourself, if needed, can go a long way to keep everyone's annoyance levels at a minimum during a larger-group meeting.
7. Present yourself professionally
Don't be the lawyer that has to be told to put a shirt on for court, even if it's via Zoom. No matter where you are physical if you're on camera, you're representing your company—so adhere to your company's (and industries) dress codes.
More than just a way to look professional for others, if you dress the part, you're more likely to feel it, too—which can make a big difference for your frame of mind and productivity.
8. Turn the video on
It's the best video meeting etiquette to always appear on video if you can. Being on camera helps show that you're engaged in the conversation, and it gives your clients and colleagues visual cues about how you're reacting. And, if you're on camera, you're more likely to stay focused—and less tempted to get distracted by your Twitter feed.
9. Use backgrounds
If your computer and software choice allows it, consider using a virtual background. A virtual background can help in a pinch if you can't find a good background for your call in your home. When used appropriately, a virtual background also adds a bit of fun to your remote work experience.
10. Be yourself
Even if using video conferencing for legal work is totally new to you, be confident that you're an adaptable professional. Make the experience as positive and productive as possible by setting clear boundaries and expectations with your team and clients—especially if you have family members, pets, or housemates around who may inevitably interrupt your meeting by accident (chances are other attendees are in the same boat, so they'll understand).