See you on the screens

Letter by Colin Holliday, by email

I am a trial-and-error learner. Manuals and instructions leave me cold. Far better to just randomly point and click to see what happens. This usually increases my conviction that everything digital is conspiring against me. I recognise that this approach can be frustrating for those around me, especially when it hijacks meeting time online.

I was reminded of my shortcomings when reading the ‘Top tips for running Skype meetings’ (PN 2606–2607). It brought back to me rather embarrassing memories of my early attempts to be part of a group using Skype. My stress levels – and probably those of my colleagues – could have been much lower if I had read this helpful guide before jumping straight into my first online meeting.

I also found the article a useful reminder that effective video conferencing requires structure and planning. Being somewhat technically-challenged, I need a clear understanding of how the session will be set up and managed and the points to look out for.

These include what to do when the internet connection fails or how to reduce background noise when not speaking. Attention to these and other simple issues improves the meeting experience for everyone.

For many people, the use of internet video meetings is now commonplace. However, I suggest that there is still value in sharing information covered by this article with everyone involved in a Skype meeting beforehand in order to get most out of the time. There is a fair chance that the session will finish more positively too.