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How To Have A Video Call That Is Actually Productive
Val Wright -- Global Leadership and Innovation Expert Val Wright -- Global Leadership and Innovation Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Los Angeles , CA
Friday, March 13, 2020


This past week Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon all advised corporate employees to temporarily work from home resulting in a flurry of meetings switching to the dreaded Zoom/Teams/BlueJeans/webEx video alternatives.  Most problems with video calls are solvable, but you have to prepare before, during and after the call.  Here are some fast tips for making your video calls far less painful:

  • Start them at 15m past the hour. Send a separate invite for 15m prior to the technology set up, downloading updates, and microphone and camera tests.

  • Shut down all other apps. Even Evernote, mail, and web browsers zap your network capacity, switch off your dropbox sync, iCloud uploads or anything else in your house using significant wifi for the duration of your call (yes that might mean telling your kids to pause the Xbox update!)

  • Consider buying your whole team noise-canceling headphones. I can’t believe how good apple AirPods work to detect and remove background noise.

  • Post the purpose of the meeting in the invite. 

  • Make it clear if video is expected, optional, or if it is audio-only.

  • If you are sharing slides or using chat features, explain so in the invite, or if dial-in only is acceptable.


  • If greater than four attendees, use the chat technology to make the social “hello how are you?”'s efficient 

    • Pose three contextual questions to answer in the chatbox: Answer these questions while we are waiting for others to join. (E.g. What did you think of the new product launch, Who saw the latest episode of the HULU show Lego Masters? Who has been to the Flutter Museum in LA?…get creative but make it inclusive and business-related.)

  • Appoint someone to take notes and actions on the call.

  • Ask for everyone to mute unless they are talking.

  • If you are leading the meeting, have a list of names of all the participants next to you on paper so you can visually check everyone who needs to contribute or participate.

  • Ask for participants to comment in the chatbox. For example, if you have just presented a new idea. “How likely do you think it is we have the resources to do this before the end of the year?, type 1-5 with 5 being highly likely and 1 being no way!) This lets you get quick feedback from attendees without managing the awkwardness of video chat interruptions and stilted conversations. 

  • If you complete all your agenda items, end the meeting early!


  • Save meeting notes and actions in a shared space.

  • Ask attendees to rate the meeting and ask for ideas for improving the next one. You can use these rating *Exemplary *Could do better *Energy Zapper*.

 I’d love to hear your productivity tips for video calls! Let me know.

Dedicated to growing your business,


P.S. I hope you enjoyed this week's VAL-uable Insights, sign up here to get them in your inbox each Monday morning: http://valwrightconsulting.com/newsletter-sign-up/

  Val Wright is a recognized leadership and organization expert. Working with Xbox, Microsoft, Amazon and LinkedIn, she has spent the last 20 years partnering with executives to accelerate growth and gain market superiority across the the games, technology, retail and e-commerce industries.

She is know for telling leaders what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Leaders seek her out when they need to accelerate their business results, build organizations, develop leaders and create world-class people strategies. Val is a dynamic speaker who will provoke, inspire and provide immediate value to your audience. She has been quoted in Fast Company, E-commerce times, Yahoo.com, Aol.com, usnews.com, NJ.com, TheNetworkJournal.com and TechNerwsWorld.com.

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