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How to Get Ready for Virtual Meetings

This year the popularity of virtual meetings has skyrocketed. Previously, they were used infrequently, as most people still shuttled into work in the morning.

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How to Get Ready for Virtual Meetings

This year the popularity of virtual meetings has skyrocketed. Previously, they were used infrequently, as most people still shuttled into work in the morning. However, following the coronavirus, all that changed. Lockdown restricted people to their homes. As a result, businesses turned to virtual meetings as a way to connect employees and their clients.

Yet, due to their rapid uptake, many people are still unsure about the ins and outs of virtual meetings. Namely, how to set it up and what can go wrong.

In this article, we’ll explore how to get ready for a virtual meeting.

1. Test your connection

People often forget to test their internet connection. However, a slow or lagging connection can ruin a meeting. Both you and your other attendees are forced to sit through the stuttering video. Eventually, you abandon the session entirely. Instead, test the connection.

Most video conferencing apps will list the required bandwidth on their website. But remember, the more attendees, the more bandwidth required. Furthermore, if there are others in your house using the internet, kindly ask them to refrain from heavy bandwidth activity: gaming or streaming.

Effective Content Delivery

2. Video and audio

Both your camera and audio will need to be checked. There are two methods for doing so. First, you can record a short video of yourself. Say a few words, then watch it back for quality. Second, you can organize a quick call with a colleague; that way, you know both video and audio work in the app. Ask then and Let you know if there are any questions or issues.

Whatever you do, don’t wait until the start of the meeting to discover your video and audio don’t work. Save everyone the hassle; check it beforehand.

3. Load a virtual background

Virtual backgrounds are chronically underappreciated. They have the power to transform a virtual meeting radically. Hello, Backgrounds offers virtual backgrounds for a zoom that is suitable for any occasion. Using green screen technology, virtual backgrounds replace your home backdrop with an image of your choice. This can range from swanky offices, stylish apartments, or even a vivid natural landscape.

Virtual Meetings

So, don’t settle for a messy home or a dreary apartment. Instead, boost meetings with these virtual wonders.

4. Lights, camera, action

When setting up your camera, don’t just test to see if it works. You will also need to consider lighting and positioning.

In regards to lighting, you will need to find a location with ample natural light. Ideally, sit beside a window. You want the light source adjacent to or in front of you. If positioned behind, you’ll appear as a gloomy silhouette. Furthermore, avoid the use of lamps.

Sometimes it’s unavoidable; however, lights are prone to casting dark shadows. If you need to use a lamp, opt for a circular LED lamp. These are preferred by YouTubers and other streamers due to the even and natural appearance of the light.

Next, position the camera at eye level. If the camera is too far below your face, it will stretch out your appearance. As such, find a stack of books, or invest in a laptop stand. When talking to the camera during a meeting, look directly into the little black dot.

Although this will seem unnatural to your attendees, it will look as if you are making eye contact. This has been shown to increase the appearance of confidence and trustworthiness.

Virtual Meetings

5. Limit distractions

When working from home, distractions are rife. Pets are known to start howling and barking. Children start running around or asking you for a specific toy. Even for younger people, flatmates can be a source of the noise. As such, try to sit in a quiet location.

If you have a busy road outside, shut the window. If the people you live with are noisy, ask them to keep it down temporarily. If you have pets or children, see if someone can look after them for the course of the meeting. Doing this will massively help your concentration and also limit any disruptions.

However, there are other sources of distraction: phone or computer notifications. Try to limit these as it will only hamper your concentration.

6. Review the agenda

If your meeting has an agenda, try to think of what you want to say ahead of time. You might even have some assigned tasks. However, virtual meetings tend to be stilted. People struggle to communicate through a screen adequately. That’s where the extra preparation comes in handy.

If you’ve already thought of what you want to say, you’ll never fall into an awkward silence. Plus, it helps in ensuring your discussions are fruitful and productive.

Helpful Resources:

1. Computer Monitor and Other Remote Work Must-Haves

2. What to Consider When Choosing a Phone Plan

3. How to Work with Strings in Google BigQuery?

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Computer Network

VPNs and Gaming – A Beginner’s Guide

In this post, we’ll provide a beginner’s guide to VPNs and gaming and how the former can help to safeguard you when playing online.

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Limitations of VPNs

Online gambling is becoming increasingly popular throughout the developed world, particularly when considering multiplayer games.

Please make no mistake; 22% of games spend between 61% and 80% of their playing time online and accessing multiplayer titles, during which time many leave their IP addresses exposed to the threat of doxxing and malware attacks.

In this post, we’ll provide a beginner’s guide to VPNs and gaming and how the former can help to safeguard you when playing online.

1. What is a VPN?

Let’s start with the basics; as a VPN (or virtual private network) looks to create a virtual and encrypted tunnel between two servers.

In essence, this means connecting your device to a virtual and remote server, which immediately masks your physical location and encrypts all web traffic so that it reads as an indecipherable code string.

Typically, VPNs are associated with public network use, with this type of network unsecured and likely to leave your device and personal data at the risk of being intercepted. For example, hackers can create rogue but familiar-sounding access points that entice you to connect to a particular network. Your activity and traffic can become visible to third parties at this point.

Even without hackers attempting to access and steal your data, you may find your activity tracked and logged by network managers or Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

This also infringes your privacy and potentially puts you at risk of having your bandwidth throttled. The latter refers to slowing down your Internet connection when engaging in activities that consume large amounts of data to optimize network performance across the board.

2. VPNs in Relation to Gaming

Gaming is one such data-hungry activity that ISPs often look to target, and in this respect, using a VPN may enable you to get the most out of this pastime as a player.

Content delivery network CDN

However, the main reason to use a VPN while gaming is to optimize your online security. This is thanks mainly to its ability to mask your device’s IP address and physical location, making it incredibly difficult for third parties to launch malware attacks or engage in the practice of doxxing.

A high-quality paid VPN can also break through restrictive firewalls, enabling you to access a broader range of gaming sites and potentially restricted platforms.

When using a comprehensive VPN client, you should also note that this negates any additional risk that you’ll incur a lag while gaming.

This is a crucial consideration when dealing with free or less advanced VPN products, as while these entities still redirect your data through a secure and remote server, it will take longer to encrypt and decrypt requests. This can create a noticeable lag, even when dealing with contemporary and incredibly capacious gaming consoles.

3. What to Look for When Choosing a VPN Client

As we’ve already touched on, VPNs are beneficial when gaming mainly because they offer players several different benefits.

However, it’s also apparent that you need to invest in and download a VPN for PC to fully realize these benefits, as they tend to offer more robust security protocols, minimize lagging and offer access to a much broader range of servers.

Additionally, many established paid VPNs offer dedicated gaming servers in some instances, which can deliver further advantages in terms of quicker processing and more rapid connections.

Paid VPNs are also more advantageous as they allow you to change your IP address and access a broader range of international services without restrictions. This offers value outside gaming, too, whether you want to introduce an additional layer of network security or stream geographically restricted content from platforms like Netflix.

This isn’t the case with free VPNs, while such clients are also unlikely to let you bypass heavy firewall restrictions or optimize your privacy.

The latter point is crucial, as some free VPN clients fund their activities by logging and selling your data to relevant third parties.

4. The Bottom Line

No doubt, using a VPN offers value to gamers, while paid clients are considerably superior to free alternatives.

So, we’d recommend that you compare the market for the best-paid VPNs while keeping in mind that clients such as Surfshark combine the best and most effective protocols to ensure the best possible online experience.

You can also access this type of paid and flexibly priced product through a free VPN trial, enabling you to test it thoroughly and ensure that it’s entirely fit for its purpose.

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