Video Calls Best Practices: Before, During and After

Communication is one of the pillars upon which virtual teams build their strength.  Every day, an organization needs to set up strategic planning, feedback, collaboration and leadership. These aspects depend on establishing clear and effective networking among the members of a team.

Some companies may now be facing the need for operating remotely due to the public restrictions established globally to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In this scenario, companies have to find different ways to hold meetings, share daily information, instructions, etc.

One of the most useful resources is video calls or video conferences, since they nearly recreate the face-to-face experience that at times online conversation lacks. But for those not used to them, video calls can be more exhausting than actual meetings because of the use of a headset, the digital sound and images, connectivity or domestic issues. However, when video calls are efficiently planned, these issues can be completely addressed and solved. Virtual meetings are a very rewarding and enriching communication experience that has no equal within remote operations.

Before: Prepare

Not every subject is appropriate for video calls. For instance, notices, news, heavy data reports can be displayed in written formats, which allows information to be easily accessible for further use. But to discuss collectively, to hear general reports of more than one department or to introduce new members of a team, a well-planned video call is the perfect ally of effective time management.

Keep in mind the following tips when preparing for a virtual meeting:

  • If you are the organizer, prepare an agenda and have a moderator who points out who speaks next.
  • If you will be speaking, prepare notes and practice what you have to say.
  • Everyone: Check if your camera, microphone and speakers are working BEFORE the meeting starts. Having to deal with technical issues can be very annoying for the attendees.

During: Leverage

During a video call, certain practices can also help participants take full advantage of the meeting. 

  • Mind your environment. A light, tidy context will help you give the right impression.
  • Take and type notes. This way, you will have a summary or a draft for further reports or briefs.
  • Be respectful of the other’s speaking turns. Thus, raise your hand if you need to intervene, and if it’s the right moment to do so.
  • Record the meeting. Having this resource available can have multiple uses.

After: Share

What happens in the video conference doesn’t stay in the video conference. The discussed matters, the conclusions, the valuable information shared should be taken into account for planning and defining new actions, changes or resolutions.

  • Share your notes or prepare reports. This way, there will be a record of the attendees and the topics discussed.
  • Share the meeting recording. If a member of a team couldn’t make it to the call, if you need to review your notes or analyze in detail something said, you will regret not having your conferences recorded. 

It’s part of a strategy

We might think that some organizational practices —like holding video calls, schedule online, being a leader from afar— are somehow spontaneous skills when operating remotely. But there is always a planned and more professional way of addressing them. Consciously preparing virtual meetings impacts productivity, time management and communication. Give it a try!

Current Consumer Behavior Shift Creates Customer Experience Improvement Opportunities

When people think about the COVID-19 pandemic, the word unprecedented comes to mind most often. While this certainly is an unprecedented time we’re living in, a word we should be using more is adaptability. If we take a step back right now, it’s quite impressive to see how quickly health care providers, governments, businesses, and consumers have adapted to this new and challenging landscape we are facing. We’ve been quick to adapt to the changes caused by our social distancing efforts and consumer habits have changed drastically. Some experts are estimating consumer habits will remain forever changed. Let’s dive deeper into these predictions.

Some Industries are Thriving

Some industries are taking a huge hit right now, such as travel and in-person entertainment, but others are thriving. Many of the businesses that were on the rise before are the ones that are holding strong during the pandemic. Food delivery services, online shopping, and streaming entertainment platforms are continuing to provide their convenient services right now. If someone didn’t appreciate these businesses in the past, they are likely to see the appeal now. Nielsen found that staying home can lead to an almost 60% increase in how much content consumers watch, which in theory will increase the demand for access to more content with consumers taking advantage of different streaming services.

Businesses that rely on subscription models, particularly entertainment services, will likely see the largest impact post-pandemic as they may retain their subscribers even once life goes back to normal. Gaining a new customer is typically five times more expensive than retaining a current customer, which means that subscription model based businesses that fill toiletry, video game, television, or food needs may see a strong business boost from social distancing.

Why Customer Experience Matters More Than Ever

While some businesses may be profiting off our current predicament, others are struggling alongside their consumers. How brands treat their customers during this difficult time will likely have a lasting impact on how consumers interact with them in the future. Airlines for one are suffering massive financial losses right now, but so are their customers. Air travel is notorious for having limited cancellation policies and poor customer service, which consumers are tolerating less and less when they feel their health and financial wellbeing is at risk. The airlines that have a compassionate customer experience right now will be more likely to build trust with their customers and have them willing to come back once normal travel resumes.

A Global Shift

One way to ensure a positive customer experience, is by making connecting with consumers easier on a global scale. The sharing of information is more important than ever before and through the use of proper translation and localization efforts, you can build trust with your consumers as well as service them in the best possible way.

From a user experience perspective, the entertainment and tech industries in particular could benefit from increased efforts to translate and localize movie and television subtitles, video games, and apps. Many people are turning to self-improvement efforts to pass the time right now, so e-learning course creators may find that adapting their courses to serve multiple languages can increase their potential customer base.

Many businesses can benefit from professional translation services, whether they make their manuals, instructions for use, or webinars more widely available. No matter what industry you work in, we can all agree that bringing more people closer together sounds pretty good right about now. 

E-learning Course QA: What You Need to Know

When creating an e-learning course, the ability for the student to learn and understand the information presented to them should be a top priority. A priority which becomes more challenging to achieve once an e-learning course is localized. E-learning course QA (quality assurance) can help ensure that the learning process is smooth for the learner, as even when professionals carefully localize content, there can be small errors that can affect it.

After localized elements such as text, images, audio, and video are imported, a linguist can do a global QA of the entire course. They do so from the perspective of the end user and during this process will spot minor mistakes like spelling mishaps and major errors in functionality. Keep reading for some must-know tips about e-learning course QA. 

Plan Ahead for QA

When creating an e-learning course that will eventually require localization, you’ll need to carve out extra time for development and testing. Planning this time in advance is wise as you’ll require more production time to build e-learning courses in multiple languages. Every time you adapt your course to a new language, you’ll have to develop, test, and review the entire course from start to finish.

Hire QA Testers

The testing and quality assurance review process is necessary to create an effective e-learning course in multiple languages. While you’re planning your course, you’ll want to identify the skills you’ll need your testers to have. In general, an e-learning course QA tester should be a linguist with proficient knowledge of both the original course language and the language they will test. This dual knowledge will allow them to compare both versions to make sure the message is consistent across them. 

What to Check for During QA

When linguists do a QA review, they should keep their eyes open for three main considerations: content, design, and functionality. 

Content: The tester should look for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary mistakes in written content. Audio content should also be reviewed carefully for mistakes. They should keep a close eye on if the terminology on the audio track matches up to the same terminology or wording that the text displays on the screen. If this text does not match properly, the student may become confused. Another mistake that is easy to overlook is text in images. If an image in the course shows a word in a foreign language, it needs to be translated separately as an authoring tool (such as Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline or Lectora Inspire) can’t export that type of content. 

Design: During the localization process, there is a chance design mistakes can occur as language does not translate into an identical length of characters. The reviewer will search the course for overflowing or truncated text throughout. Does the design still work efficiently in a different language?

Functionality: The reviewer will do one last check throughout the course to ensure everything is functioning as intended. They they will check that all buttons work properly and that the right audio track plays at scheduled times. Human errors can happen, so the linguist should do their best to catch them.

Scaling Up: Leveraging Global Translation for a Stronger Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Cream City. Birthplace of Miller Brewing, Harley-Davidson Motor Company and the Fonz. Host city for the 2020 Democratic National Convention. And home to Terra Translations, LLC. The City of Milwaukee has a rich and unique history that has cultivated an environment primed for intentional disruption and dynamic growth. While the city is supported by some incredible behemoth entities like Manpower Group and Northwestern Mutual, the small business contingency is weaving its own unique thread into the fabric of The Brew City’s future successes; this includes Terra Translations. While Terra is committed to providing the best translation services in Milwaukee, the company is also focused on promoting cultural diversity, encouraging inclusion, and increasing access to information for the multilingual community. 

Terra’s strategy for supporting Milwaukee businesses, visitors, and residents is heavily reliant on being present, making new connections, and supporting the efforts of other burgeoning entities. One way the company is executing this strategy is by partnering with Scale Up Milwaukee. Scale Up is an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee and they describe themselves as “an action project focused on developing the entrepreneurial capacity in Milwaukee by bringing together the policies, structures, programs and climate that foster entrepreneurship.”

Terra was welcomed as member of Scale Up in September 2019. Since joining, member meetings and one-on-one mentoring have helped to inspire, cultivate, and accelerate Terra’s continued integration and rapid growth within their local Milwaukee community. Scale Up also offers moderated conversations with prominent Milwaukee figures through their Meet the Masters events. Past “Masters” include Peter Feigin, President of the Milwaukee Bucks, Scott Lurie, President of F Street Group, and Beth Ridley, Owner of The Brimful Life. Through an intimate setting and the fluid style of moderator Elmer Moore, Executive Director of Scale Up, the audience is treated to a rare glimpse into the journey of these leaders to learn and grow.

Beth Ridley and Elmer Moore at the Meet the Masters event

Regardless of the event, every Scale Up interaction is purposefully planned to generate discussion and reflection that is thought-provoking, even uncomfortable at times, forcing members to think in new ways and challenging “the way we’ve always done it” to be absent from conversation. Members are encouraged to share their goals, professional fears, and ideas that didn’t work out as planned in an effort to realign, refocus, and recharge the tenacity and confidence that can sometimes wax and wane during the adventure of being an entrepreneur. And because the bottom line is always top of mind, Scale Up membership includes one-on-one mentoring with their expert team that spans a broad spectrum of operational and professional development topics, from bolstering community partnerships and marketing, to product development and company metrics. 

Terra Translations is a proud member of Scale Up; the partnership has been vital to strengthening Terra’s roots as a Milwaukee based translation services provider with a global reach. The company has found that Scale Up’s well-rounded approach to supporting the entrepreneurial spirit allows small business owners the chance to network with organizations that they might not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. Not to mention, they receive training, support, and resources that allow these businesses to prosper and grow with intention. Terra is looking forward to applying for Scale Up’s 2020 Growth Accelerator program and continuing to be a part of Milwaukee’s success story. You can learn more about the incredible work Scale Up Milwaukee is doing at www.scaleupmilwaukee.org.