Your Secret to Successful Video Calls & Conferencing
As COVID-19 spread throughout 2020, video calls transitioned from an optional tool to one that’s essential, helping to keep businesses running as much of the world’s workforce tackled working from home. As the world went into lockdown, businesses, friends and family are all looking for alternative ways to keep in touch.
Businesses, in particular, reached for virtual replacements to hold meetings, conferencing and reviews (cue the zoom calls). These methods are now being used worldwide, for all home based workers alike.
There are lots of great video conferencing tools and tips available. Many of which are helpful if video conferencing is a foreign process to you.
From myself to you, here are a few things I have learnt to be the fundamental do’s and dont’s of video calls/conferencing.
How To Get Video Calls Right…
Get to know the video conference call platform
From Skype to Zoom, Google Hangouts to Microsoft Teams, every platform is different with different default settings and purposes. The idea here is to be aware of the ins and outs of the video call platform you’re on before the video call takes place, there are countless video tutorials with extensive feature knowledge of all the platforms (so do your research!). During a call is not the time to learn how that call works.
Set up your space
If you can, find a private place to take the call. Understandably, this might not be easy, especially with partners, roommates or family living their day to day life in the house. Take yourself away from the chaos and find a workspace that is professional and will keep you on the ball. Thus making for a much smoother call.
If you struggle to find a private space, a good way to block out background noise is to use headphones. When I’m doing a video call, I tend to plug in my AirPods and block out any outside commotion. I find this super helpful in achieving professional conference calls with minimal distraction.
Your actual desktop set up is vital. Your device and camera should be positioned so that it has a clear, unobstructed view of you. Don’t sit too far from (or too close to) the camera. It’s best to put the camera at eye level so that when you’re looking at the screen, it appears as if you’re looking at the person you’re talking to.
Declutter! Clean up the area around you. A top tip I use is to open up the camera on your computer before the call and see what’s visible in the background. Make your bed, tidy away clutter and leave a professional blank canvas behind you.
Dress to Impress
One of the best parts about working from home is getting to wear PJs and having your hair in a messy bun (speaking from personal experience) but that may not be the right move for a video call. If necessary, dress how you would for an in-person meeting, and make sure to follow your workplace’s dress code.
Punctual and Professional!
This one should go without saying, but don’t be late. Some people think of video calls as being less official than in-office correspondence, but there’s no reason for that distinction, a meeting is scheduled at a certain time for a reason.
You’re taking up time that your colleagues and clients could be using for other tasks, so treat a video call as seriously as you would an in-office meeting and show up on time.
Before a scheduled video call/conference, I like to grab myself a coffee and a glass of water, test out the camera and audio and get myself prepared.
Light Up Your Face
Good lighting is very important with video calls, and as you are naturally the star of the show, it is important to show yourself in the best light. Open up your curtains and let in the very natural and organic daylight. However, ensure that you have no windows or bright light behind you, as this will cause you to be silhouetted. Sitting directly in front of a window can flatten your features, so a 45 degree angle would be best. For a more professional approach, you could invest in one of the many lighting rigs that are available.
Be aware that your screen can be a large source of light, so adjust your screen brightness, too, especially if you are taking a call without natural light.
As we transition to more and more video calls, hopefully, these best practices become more ingrained in everyone’s minds over time. By following these tips, your video calls will be even more effective and professional.