With the country locked down for 21 days, as many of us as possible are now working remotely, taking advantage of the tools made possible by the digital age. And with such remote work, video conferencing is truly coming into its own as a tool for collaboration, both internally, and with clients.
With that in mind, here are some useful tips for getting the most out of your virtual meetings, and avoiding some unfortunate faux pas’ that lurk to trip up the unwary.
DO: Mute your microphone when you’re not speaking
Even when you’re alone in the room, background noise can be distracting.
DON’T: Forget to turn it on when you want to speak
There’s nothing worse than asking an important question, or making an important point, only to find out that your microphone was still muted.
DO: Make sure you have adequate lighting
Use natural light from the windows, or turn on the overhead light to brighten up the screen. Side lighting is best, but above all, you don’t want to look like you’re broadcasting from some dim dungeon.
DON’T: Position your camera too low
Or too high. Or on a different monitor than the one you’re looking at. A weird camera angle can be very distracting for other participants.
DO: Wear pants
It can be terribly tempting to just throw a work shirt on over your pajama bottoms (or less), but you never know if you’ll need to get up suddenly, or if your camera will fall. Be prepared for anything, and make sure you’re dressed appropriately.
DON’T: Check emails or read articles while on the call
It’s easy for other participants to see if you’re not engaged with the call, and reading, or doing other work while on the call not only shows a lack of focus, but a lack of commitment too.
DO: Look at the camera
When you’re talking, look into your camera, and not at the screen that you can see yourself talking on. Looking at the camera means you’re keeping eye-contact with your audience, and helps them feel that you’re present and engaged.
DON’T: Eat during a video call
You’d this this one was obvious…if you wouldn’t do it in a face-to-face meeting, you shouldn’t do it on a call either.
DO: Test your equipment
Before the scheduled call, test everything out by having a quick video call with one of your colleagues so you can check that everything on your side is working the way it should.
DON’T: Video call from a bomb site
If your location looks like a bomb hit it, do a bit of a tidy-up first, take care of empty mugs, overflowing ashtrays, inappropriate decorations, etc. Remember that video conferences are essentially an in-person interaction, and it’s supposed to help you communicate more effectively.