Lots of people are just sort of muddling through their new world of regular video conferencing, and that’s okay. But if you want to be more confident in your video conferencing skills, try these tips.
Lots of celebrities are appearing on webcam in front of bookcases, so you can certainly go that route. Any space that looks like a home office would suffice, too. Just make sure you’re not video conferencing in front of your corkboard that has proprietary sales documents prominently displayed.
Keep in mind that some platforms like Microsoft Teams will let you choose a background image, which is a safe choice. This is also available when you use the Hosted PBX solution with collaboration features from ThinkTel.
Appliances that might ding or buzz should be shut off or put on quiet mode. Put your phone on silent and ensure that other apps on your computer won’t make noise. Make sure the rest of the household knows not to disturb you. Put your pets somewhere they won’t make a lot of noise. If that means on your lap where you can pet them, that means they’ve figured out how to game the system.
Does that mean you have to wear pants? No, but if you’re forced to get up due to a series of comic events and the whole meeting ends up seeing your underpants, you’ll probably be replaying that particular scene before you fall asleep for the next few years or so.
When you’re not speaking, mute your microphone. You never know what noises are being amplified.
For best performance (and to save yourself distraction), close other apps before you start video conferencing. Lots of apps running will leave less CPU space to run your video conferencing app.
Screen sharing is pretty common during conference calls. Yet another good reason to close everything is to prevent others from seeing something potentially embarrassing or something private, whether it’s personal or proprietary for your business. If you have notes for the call, you can always put those on your phone or print them out.
Are your device drivers updated and installed? How does your mic sound? Do your earbuds work properly? Before you make a call, test everything. That’s why most video conferencing software has a test call feature. Besides, you want to get to know the technology before you have to use it. There’s nothing more frustrating than losing the first ten minutes of a video conference meeting to people getting their setups together.
If you look at the faces on your screen, it will look like you’re looking down, because you are. If you want to look like you’re looking someone in the eye, you’ll have to look directly at your camera.
Your collaboration tools will have a bunch of useful features, so before you set up a call, make sure to test them out. Most tools let you share screens to present documents or slideshows, so make sure you make use of these features. You can also select a co-host for the call—maybe one of you controls the screen while the other presents?
Video conference etiquette is pretty similar to in person meeting etiquette. Pay attention, listen actively, be respectful—all the stuff we learned in kindergarten still applies. Except you don’t have to raise your hand. Or bring enough snacks to share. Actually, save the snacks for after the meeting.
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