Apr 06 2021

5 Common Videoconferencing Mistakes and How to Fix Them

For government officials, frequent chats via camera has become the norm, and everyone should get the most out of them.

Jittery video, bad lighting and other technical issues can hinder at-home videoconferencing for anyone — but they’re a major roadblock for critical conversations between government officials and their constituents. Here’s how to conduct a safe, stress-free call.

How Much Bandwidth Do I Need to Stream Video?

For a one-on-one high-definition video call, Zoom recommends an upload and download bandwidth of 1.2 megabits per second, while Full HD (1080p) videoconferencing requires 1.8Mbps. A gallery view meeting requires slightly more. Microsoft Teams requirements are similar. Most home setups should suffice; visit speedtest.net to check your bandwidth.

Should I Plan Ahead to See How People Appear on Camera?

Schedule a test call with a colleague or friend (Zoom and Microsoft Teams also offer this function). Aesthetically speaking, position lighting behind the camera or place a few lamps at your side — and avoid wearing patterned clothing. A test will identify audio and video issues and identify any background clutter. Make sure all device cables are plugged in.

How Can I Improve Audio Quality During Team Conferences?

Before the call, close all nonessential open programs and stop downloads and backups to conserve processing power and bandwidth, and set up in a quiet room. Mute the microphone after you speak, and try not to talk over people. Consider a headset or an external microphone and camera; the quality is markedly better than most built-in elements. 

What If the Computer Screen Freezes During a Video Conference Call?

Close unnecessary applications and ask others on your network to refrain from high-bandwidth activity. If you’re on a mobile device, go where the signal is stronger. If a choppy connection persists, tell the moderator. Videoconferencing apps auto-adjust depending on bandwidth, so acceptable calls are still possible.

How Can I Ensure Privacy for Calls Involving Sensitive Information?

Moderators should require meeting passwords, review attendees (even during the call), enable waiting rooms so no one can join before the host and use the lock function so latecomers can’t join. Don’t share meeting links on social media, and train staff to spot signs of suspicious links. Ones ending in .exe, for example, could be malware.

Getty Images/ izusek (man), Marcos Homem (woman)