It’s rare these days that everyone can be in the same place at the same time. Whether on the road for a business trip, home to watch a sick child or working remotely full time, we all find ourselves away from the office while work still needs to get done. I believe that video conferencing is one of the best ways to maintain a level of interpersonal communication that can often get lost or misinterpreted over email. So, for your next meeting, instead of picking up the phone, set up a video conference and master it by following these 10 easy steps. And please make sure your video is actually on!
Check your camera first.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. It sounds so obvious, but check your camera and speakers first to make sure they work. No one wants to waste 5 minutes while you learn how to use your video camera. Most video conferencing software will have a “preview” feature, enabling you to check everything from your sound to your hair before the call even gets underway.
Lighting is your friend.
Video conferences are great because you can see people’s reactions. However, if you get the lighting wrong, no one will be able to see you, and you may as well have joined by phone.
Center the camera.
Try and keep the camera at eye level, not looking up or down at you. You wouldn’t want your coworkers looking up your nose, and they wouldn’t enjoy that view either.
Fill the screen.
Don’t make yourself any further away than you have to. People want to look at your smiling face, not the wall behind you or the table in the conference room.
Remember people can see you.
You’re on camera, so make sure you’re paying attention. No one wants to see you texting, walking off to another room or chatting with colleagues while you’re still on the call.
Just because you can hear your own voice doesn’t mean that others can. Before launching into dialogue, double-check to make sure the rest of the people on the call can hear you.
The mute button is there for a reason.
Don’t be afraid of going on mute. Phones can pick up a lot more background noise than people think. No one wants to listen to shuffling papers, side conversations or the rattling of your keyboard.
Share your screen.
This is the beauty of video conferences – if you need to share something, then don’t be shy. Screen-sharing minimizes time and confusion since participants don’t need to email links or attachments between one another.
Dress for the camera.
Just because you’re taking a call from home doesn’t mean you can sit in your sweats. Remember to dress for a video call as if you were at work.