By now, most business owners have used videoconferencing, whether it’s been in a state-of-the-art suite or simply over Skype. However, people often encounter problems that can trip up an important call. Here are five videoconferencing mistakes you should work in advance to try and avoid.

Technical difficulties

Technology may make it easier to communicate with far-flung staff or clients, but computers also have a way of breaking down at the worst moments. Be sure to fire up your video cameras and computers and test audio before dialing into the conference participant.  The last thing you want is to leave an important client waiting on the line while you try and sort out technical issues.

Appearing unprofessional

While videoconferencing isn’t quite as intimate as a face-to-face meeting, it’s still important that you treat it like an in-person discussion. Even if it’s a 10-minute chat over Skype, dress the part, do your hair, avoid eating or drinking and stay professional. Your client or staff member will be able to tell if you rolled out of bed and flipped on your computer.

Opening the wrong files

Teleconferencing tools allow you to easily share materials on screen. Make sure you already have the files open and ready to go before putting them on display; opening the wrong file mid-discussion could be embarrassing – or could even kill the sale.

Weak Internet connection

Many entrepreneurs don’t have offices these days – they corral the troops and talk to clients from home. If you’re regularly meeting with people over Skype, Google Talk or other video conferencing programs, make sure you get the best Internet service you can afford. You don’t want the connection to cut off mid-sentence.

Using old technology

It may not be easy to upgrade a full video conferencing suite every time new technology comes along, but if you’re using computer webcams or smartphones to communicate visually, then it’s a good idea to get the latest tech. If your picture is cutting out, looks grainy or is simply not as good as it can be, clients will notice. Think of it this way: a new smartphone or webcam every year or so will still cost you way less than regular flights to meet that far-away clients or staff.

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