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woman wearing headphones and a blue blouse looking at a computer screen and smiling while taking notes during a video conference

What is Video Conferencing? Best Tools, Setup, and Tips for 2023

Unleash the power of video communication with our ultimate guide. Discover the top video conferencing tools and find the perfect fit for your team.

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With a global client base and remote workforce to tap into, now’s the time to ask: what is video conferencing?

The answer is simple: video conferencing is the best way for modern companies to manage internal communications when traditional office setups are phasing out. Video conferences are the most efficient and flexible way to collaborate with an evolving team and communicate with clients remotely.

But you don’t need to rely on ad hoc setups or outdated software. From choosing the best software to lighting your workspace like a pro, this guide will help you get set up for video conferencing.

What is video conferencing?

Video conferencing definition

Video conferencing is a live video-based meeting between two or more people. It uses the Internet to facilitate live, face-to-face interactions and collaboration through audio, video, screen sharing, and chat.

Video conferencing helps coworkers connect remotely for internal meetings, presentations, and webinars. It can also help you connect with clients from all over the world. You might have heard of popular online meeting software like Zoom, Google Meet, or Livestorm (more on those later!). These tools can be used to facilitate video conferencing in a variety of settings.

What are the common uses and types of video conferencing?

The most common types of video conferencing are:

  • Internal meetings
  • Sales calls
  • Product demos
  • Webinars and training
  • Job interviews

Internal meetings

Video conferencing can be used for all internal meetings like daily stand-ups, brainstorming sessions, 1:1s, and all-hands meetings. For example, if you’re using Livestorm or Zoom, you can schedule recurring meetings, share a slide deck, and create breakout rooms for more focused discussion and collaboration during large company-wide meetings. Similarly, Livestorm is ISO 27001-compliant, ensuring your conversations are private and secure.

Sales calls

Your sales representatives can connect with potential leads anywhere in the world and build personal connections. Video conferencing facilitates virtual consultations and product walkthroughs. With Livestorm, you can create one-to-one and many-to-many video meetings for your sales team. You can also convert call recordings into videos for sales and use them for marketing activities.

Product demos

Let your clients see your product in action before they buy it. You can set up product demo sessions to show the user interface, feature sets, and multipoint demonstrations. You can also use Livestorm's collaboration tools for screen sharing, file sharing, and resource sharing to make demos more interactive.

Webinars and training

Trainers, facilitators, and experts can host workshops, lectures, or webinars for a global audience. With Livestorm, you can create virtual classrooms with multiple attendees and add polls to collect insights and assess their understanding.

Job interviews

You can schedule one-on-one or group interviews to assess candidate skills, culture fit, and experience. Platforms like Livestorm and Zoom integrate with Google Calendar, which is handy for directly inviting candidates by email and blocking time in their calendars. You can also create virtual waiting rooms to hold your next candidate while you finish up the previous interview.


Discover the Biggest Trends in Video Conferencing

Livestorm surveyed 1000 US professionals on their use of video conferencing tools. Download this trends report to understand the needs for video conferencing.

What are the pros and cons of video conferencing?

While video conferencing is a useful tool for modern communication and collaboration, there are some downsides like screen fatigue, technical hiccups, and privacy concerns. Here's a look at the pros and cons of video conferencing:

Benefits of video conferencing

Most businesses find video conferencing makes communication with all kinds of stakeholders far more flexible. With the right software, you can:

  • Connect instantly. No matter where your team or clients are located, you can meet instantly anywhere you have an internet connection.
  • Boost sales. You can connect with clients globally and meet more people in a day. You can also use pre-recorded, downloadable product demos to boost conversion on your website.
  • Save money. You don’t need expensive meeting rooms or rented office space to meet remotely. Choose video conferencing software that suits your needs, and internal communications will continue just as smoothly.
  • Be efficient. You’ll spend less time on admin when you create recurring meetings that sync with your calendar and can send automatic email invites and reminders.
  • Make data-driven decisions. Use video conferencing services with reporting tools to understand audience trends and improve your live events.

Challenges of video conferencing

When using a video conferencing platform for your business, you might be worried about how it could negatively affect internal communications. Here are some potential disadvantages (and how to overcome them):

  • Technical difficulties. Avoid technical issues by testing your software ahead of time and opting for a browser-based platform. Using browser-based software means all your attendees need to do is click a link to attend, eliminating time spent downloading apps and creating accounts.
  • Your meetings might feel less personal. Encourage everyone to have their cameras on for a start. Of course, some people may keep their cameras off (for privacy reasons), but you can still incorporate a few icebreaker questions and activities to build a sense of connection.
  • Meeting attendees might get distracted. When everyone is joining a meeting remotely, you have limited control over their environment. They might be in a busy coffee shop, commuting, or home with the kids. Establish basic video call etiquette from the top (like muting yourself when you’re not talking) and set up meeting checklists to keep things focused.

How can a video engagement platform help?

The best way to address the disadvantages mentioned above is to use a dedicated video engagement platform. With video engagement, it’s not just two people in a video call: it’s about using your video capabilities to their full potential and getting the best out of your team.

What is video engagement?

Video engagement refers to how much your audience pays attention to and interacts with your video conferencing event. It can be measured using metrics like registration signups, chat messages sent, and replay views.

How to make video conferencing more engaging

If your whole team is suffering from meeting fatigue, try using video engagement features to capture their interest:

  • Video chat. Chat boxes are a handy place for meeting attendees to post ad hoc questions, interact with each other, and share links, all without interrupting the speaker's flow.
  • Polls. You can introduce polls whenever you want to check your understanding or gather feedback during the meeting.
  • Q&A. Built-in Q&A functionality will make dealing with audience questions much slicker. Platforms like Livestorm will notify you when a participant asks a question and give other audience members a chance to upvote questions they’re interested in.
  • Digital whiteboard. Get creative as you brainstorm with your team in real-time or set mini-tasks for participants to complete on a whiteboard like Miro.
  • Multimedia sharing. The ability to easily share a presentation, play a video clip, or pre-recorded audio will make your meetings more dynamic and keep your audience alert.
  • Screen sharing. Perfect for problem-solving or training, a good video conferencing platform will allow you to share your screen and demonstrate a workflow on camera.

Run trouble-free and secure online meetings

Meet the first video conferencing platform that makes hybrid and remote work simple.

If you’re using a strong video engagement platform like Livestorm, you’ll have all the tools you need to host interactive meetings and meet your business objectives. With the right software, you’ll keep your team engaged, wow your clients, and get results for your business.

5 best video conferencing platforms for your business

With the right setup, it’s easy to engage with prospects, customers, and team members in real time. So we’ve dug right into the reviews of the best video conferencing software on the market to help you decide. Here’s what we found:

  • Livestorm: Best for all-in-one engaging video conferencing
  • Zoom: Best for simple video calling
  • Webex: Best for collaborating outside of calls
  • Google Meet: Best for a budget
  • Microsoft Teams: Best for document collaboration

1. Livestorm: Best for all-in-one engaging video conferencing

Livestorm is a video engagement platform that will help you host interactive meetings and drive results. At Livestorm, we believe that meetings should never be dull, so our platform is the only choice if you’re looking for powerful engagement features to motivate attendees.

People attending an online meeting on Livestorm, a browser-based video conferencing software

Why should you use Livestorm?

Livestorm is browser-based, so meetings are super easy to set up and access: all your attendees need to join is the meeting link. It’s an all-in-one platform that can be used for everything from internal meetings to sales calls or live webinars. You can even use Livestorm for your legal video conferencing needs.

If you’re looking for secure video conferencing, this is a strong contender. Plus, Livestorm is the number one choice for engagement because it includes all the following:

  • Breakout rooms
  • Screen and media sharing
  • Chat
  • Q&A and question upvoting
  • Live polls
  • Hand raising
  • Emoji reactions
  • Automatic transcription
  • Custom branding
  • Automated email invitations and reminders
  • Detailed reporting for metrics like the number of attendees, replay views, and traffic data
  • Integration with useful apps like Visme, Miro, Slack, Google Calendar, and HubSpot

Livestorm is also one of the only video conferencing platforms that offers an unlimited free trial, so you can give it a complete test drive before you hand over your credit card details. Take a look at our pricing page to see all that’s included.


Run trouble-free and secure online meetings

Meet the first video conferencing platform that makes hybrid and remote work simple.

2. Zoom: Best for simple video calling

Zoom is a household name for video calling, setting the precedent for simple-to-use video conferencing software designed for mobile apps. But it has limited customization options when compared to Livestorm.

22 people in a meeting using Zoom video conferencing software with end-to-end encryption

Why should you use Zoom?

Zoom has become a popular choice for webinars and professional training. Zoom has important features like presentation sharing and breakout rooms for more in-depth discussion. With Zoom, you can customize your plan with add-ons to host events just how you like them. The Business plan includes:

  • 300 participants
  • 30hr meetings
  • Private and group chat during meetings
  • Meeting recordings
  • End-to-end encryption (E2EE)
  • Integrations with Slack, Google Calendar, Shopify, Discord, LinkedIn and Salesforce.

Are there any drawbacks to Zoom?

Zoom can now be used in your browser, but it was originally built as an app-based product. It works best in-app, especially on smaller devices, but even then, users do report difficulty using the mobile app. Be warned: the free version caps meetings at 40 minutes.

3. Webex: Best for collaborating outside of calls

Webex by Cisco lets you connect remote attendees with people in physical conference rooms that have Cisco video conferencing systems. So you can connect through conference calls and Voice over IP (VOIP) phones. The transcription feature is available in 13 languages so you can host multilingual conversations.

Webex offers basic video conferencing services

Why should you use Webex?

Webex offers co-browsing, in-platform messaging, and file transfer outside of traditional video calls, making it a combined communication platform for businesses to collaborate online. The Starter plan includes:

  • 50 hosts
  • 24hr meetings
  • Chat during meetings
  • Integrates with all Cisco hardware
  • Personalized meeting room layout

Are there any drawbacks to Webex?

Webex is billed as “one app for everything,” but, as a result, the user interface is over-complicated. Unfortunately, some engagement features like polling can only be used in-app, plus you will have to pay extra for encrypted cloud recordings and cloud storage.

4. Google Meet: Best for a budget

Google Meet is a browser-based video conferencing software on computers but requires an app to access from your phone or tablet. As it’s a part of the Google Suite, you can send Google Calendar invites with a Meet link automatically attached.

Team meeting on the virtual video conferencing software Google Meet

Why should you use Google Meet?

With a free Google account, you can host 60-minute meetings using Google Meet at no extra cost. If you do decide to go down the paid route, a Google Workspace subscription starts at around $6 and includes:

  • 100 participants
  • 24hr meetings
  • Chat during meetings

Are there any drawbacks to Google Meet?

Although Google account holders will find the free plan pretty accessible, it’s not as well-rounded when it comes to built-in features. You’ll need to pay extra for basic engagement features like polling, Q&A, and hand-raising.

5. Microsoft Teams: Best for document collaboration

Microsoft Teams integrates with Office apps like SharePoint, Word, and Excel, allowing users to collaborate on live documents in a shared workspace.

Microsoft Teams video conferencing tool integrates with all Microsoft products.

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Why should you use Microsoft Teams?

If you’re looking for more ways than just a video call to collaborate remotely with your team, this is a good option. As well as working on shared documents, you can schedule virtual meetings that integrate with your Outlook calendar. The Microsoft Teams Essentials plan includes:

  • 300 participants
  • 30hr meetings
  • Chat during (and outside) meetings

Are there any drawbacks to using Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams definitely isn’t the best option if you’re looking for straightforward, slick video conferencing. Its focus on document collaboration makes it a complicated beast that many users find difficult to navigate and prone to outages.

What are the key features of video conferencing software?

Ever sat through an online event where technology fails, and things fall apart? It’s the worst-case scenario, but it can be avoided. When it comes to achieving the best video conferencing setup, the software you choose will have a big impact.

Before you commit to a subscription, make sure your video conferencing platform has the following features:

  • Breakout rooms for focused discussion and collaboration
  • Google Calendar and email integration
  • Browser-based access
  • Recurring events
  • Automatic email invites and reminders for attendees
  • Screen and media sharing
  • Automatic recording
  • Engagement features like chat boxes, Q&A, emoji reactions, and polling
  • Capacity to host enough attendees (depending on the size of your audience)
  • Compatibility with a range of devices
  • Dial-in by phone (in case of poor connection)
  • Strong security features (we've listed the most secure video conferencing platforms for you)

Best hardware for video conferencing setup

You’re hosting your first virtual meeting, and everything is going great - but is that really what you look like from that angle? Most laptops come with built-in hardware for video calls, like video conferencing cameras. But let’s face it; they can be pretty mediocre.

From poor camera quality to crackling audio, your built-in features could hold you back. For a more professional (and flattering) video conferencing setup, you’ll want to pick out your hardware yourself.

Let’s look at the key considerations for your video conferencing setup:

  • Sound clarity
  • High-quality video
  • Bright lighting

1. Sound clarity

Crisp sound quality is a must when hosting professional meetings: you don’t want to miss anything your clients say. A strong pair of headphones with a built-in microphone will ensure you can be heard clearly, too.

man wearing headphones taking notes during virtual lesson

Try these top picks:

  • Apple Airpods. With exceptional sound quality and portable design, Airpods are a must for busy professionals who want discreet headphones to use on the go.
  • Jabra Evolve2 40. Designed for comfort with built-in noise isolation, this Jabra headset is ideal for those who expect to be in and out of calls all day.

Do you need a microphone? Not with a good pair of headphones, but it does depend on how you expect to use video conferencing for your business.

If you’re attending regular work meetings online, a microphone is an extra expense that might get in the way of having natural conversations. However, some hosts do like to use a microphone for webinars, and you’ll definitely want one if you’re going to use video conferencing software for interviewing guests for a podcast. If that sounds like you, Blue Yeti is a versatile and inexpensive mic that’s worth looking into.

Pro tip: Try free noise-canceling software like Krisp if you expect to host meetings in noisy locations. Krisp uses artificial intelligence to reduce distracting sounds like traffic, pets, keyboard strokes, and echoes.

2. High-quality video

Ditch poor camera quality and unattractive angles, and never look back, because you’re about to get a proper webcam. Even if you do have a laptop with a camera, there’s no reason why you should be hunched over it while trying to impress important stakeholders. Choosing a new webcam is going to give your video calls a total upgrade.

Try one of these top video conferencing cameras:

  • Logitech Brio 4K. You’ll be in good hands with most Logitech cameras, but we’re especially fond of the Brio 4K, which includes facial recognition technology for extra security.
  • Razer Kiyo. A powerful little camera with a built-in ring light for extra illumination, the Razer Kiyo is a great solution if your desk faces a wall and you want to skip expensive lighting solutions.

3. Bright lighting

Whether you have an office or work from home, it can be tricky to get the best lighting for video conferencing. Bright, natural lighting works best, but you can’t rely on the weather, and not everyone has the luxury of a desk near a window.

Man setting up lighting for video conference

If you need to bring artificial light into your setup, try one of these:

  • Cyezcor Video Conference Lighting Kit. This lighting kit is smaller than your average ring light, and clips to your computer screen, so you don’t have to find space for an unwieldy lamp. The ring shape distributes light evenly onto your face for a more flattering appearance.
  • Neewer Video Conference Lighting Kit. The Neewer kit opts for a square, LED light with the handy addition of a remote control to help you control the brightness from where you’re sitting. You can even try out its color filters if you’re interested in achieving different camera effects.

Pro Tip: Avoid mixing light sources if you can. Sitting next to a window with a desk lamp switched on isn’t ideal for light clarity as it may cast shadows and interfere with your camera's light adjustment settings.

Tips to set up video conferencing

You’ve chosen your software and got the gear. Now it’s time to curate a professional background and brush up on your virtual meeting etiquette. Follow these video conferencing tips for the perfect virtual meeting setup:

  • Find a quiet room. You’ll want somewhere calm and quiet to focus on hosting.
  • Fix your background. Paying attention to what can be seen on your camera will make you a more professional and polished host. If you don’t have the best wall color for video conferencing, you could choose a virtual background instead.
  • Make a plan. Set an agenda and keep the conversation moving to avoid anyone dozing off. If it’s going to be a long event, be sure to include comfort breaks and audience participation.
  • Do a trial run. Always test out your software in the location where you plan to run the event to avoid awkward mishaps and delays on the day.
  • Use a strong browser. Most video conferencing software will operate best on Chrome. Check the advice from your software provider if you’re not sure.
  • Check your internet connection. For smooth meetings, we recommend 15Mb/s upload and download speeds. Apps like Speedtest can help check your connection ahead of time, but always have a backup plan in case of outages.

7 Steps to Make Your Video Conference a Hit

In this video, we break down how to host a successful virtual event in 7 easy steps. From planning to promotion and following up with your event registrants, you'll learn what steps to take before, during, and after your video conference.

What’s the next step for setting up video conferencing?

If you’re looking for a way to upgrade your communications strategy, this is it. Video conferencing tools are super fast and super flexible and make meetings easy to record and revisit.

If you’re ready to get started, why not try Livestorm? Easy-to-use software and carefully curated surroundings are key to hosting impressive online meetings. But to make the most out of your video conferencing setup, you’ll need a strong video engagement platform with various features to support results-driven, collaborative working.

With the right video engagement platform, you’ll boost your team’s productivity, deliver powerful onboarding sessions, and even reach new audiences.

Frequently asked questions about video conferencing

How does video conferencing work?

Video conferencing uses high-speed internet bandwidth, webcams, and microphones to connect people in different locations. It allows participants to send audio, video, and text messages while they’re connected.

How do I set up video conferencing?

You can set up video conferencing with a browser-based service like Livestorm, Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams. You can create a virtual meeting room that you can share with others via a link or invitation.

What is video conferencing in education?

Video conferencing in education connects students and teachers from different locations to facilitate online learning. This can include synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (recorded) sessions and can be used for lectures, discussions, office hours, and group projects.

What are the 3 benefits of video conferencing?

The 3 benefits of video conferencing are:

  • Connects instantly with an internet connection.
  • Boost sales by connecting with clients globally
  • Saves money as you don’t need expensive meeting rooms or rented office space to meet remotely

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