How to Look Like a Professional Videographer on Conference Calls
Even before the recent COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in the use of video conference tools, meetings via video conferencing were growing in popularity as an excellent way to bring people together across distance or other barriers. Whether traveling, connecting with employees in multiple cities or working from home, video conferencing has allowed workers to maintain much of the collaborative atmosphere they experience in the office.
If you’re not used to working from home, you might be worried about appearing unprofessional or not knowing how the whole thing works. Fortunately, it isn’t too challenging, if you follow some simple guidelines for video conferencing — Master your visual domain, and you may even capture the attention of leadership as a standout, top-notch work-from-home employee.
In this guide, we’ll discuss some dos and don’ts of teleconferencing to help get you through.
10 Tips and Tricks for Effective Video Conferencing
When you’re working in a more casual environment such as your home, staying professional can be a challenge. But don’t let that come across on your video. Try following our tips for web conferencing etiquette to turn yourself into a pro on video conferencing techniques:
1. Work Out Any Bugs Before the Call
This first step is especially important if you’re new to video calls. Test out your camera and microphone to make sure they are operational. Fire up the video conferencing software in case there are any updates needed. Most video conferencing applications have a “waiting room” feature that will show you your image before you join the call. Use that opportunity to arrive a few minutes early, review your hardware, and ensure it’s functional. Consider all your technological needs when you get ready to work from home.
Working out the kinks doesn’t just apply to technological issues. Make sure you’re prepared, too. Just like an in-person meeting, you’ll want to have your materials ready and know what the agenda looks like.
2. Dress to Impress
If you wouldn’t wear pajamas to a work meeting in the office, don’t wear them for a video conference. As tempting as it is, it’s not professional. Wear an outfit that you would wear on a typical day. You don’t want to be the person who gets up to grab a paper or shut the door and puts their pajama pants on display to the whole office.
3. Mind Your Background and Lighting
Before the video conference starts, find yourself a professional-looking backdrop. You don’t need to look like you’re in an immaculate office, but make sure the space behind you is tidy and not distracting. Try to put a wall behind you, so you don’t risk the distractions of kids running through the background or family members wandering by in their underwear.
Avoid positioning any lighting behind you, as this can create a glare. Try lighting yourself from the front instead. For some of the best lighting, see if you can put yourself facing a window. Natural light is powerful and diffused, making for a clean lighting setup.
4. Always Mute Yourself When Not Talking
You may be surprised to find just how many distracting noises come through when you aren’t talking. Typing, coughing, taking a drink or tapping a pen can make it difficult for people to hear what’s being said. If you’re not talking, mute your microphone.
5. Minimize Distractions and Side Tasks
You might feel like you can slyly do other things, like check your emails or work on a different project, but the other people in the meeting will be able to tell, and you might be distracting them. You could also come off as rude and inattentive.
More importantly, multitasking isn’t efficient — one expert even suggests that it can reduce productivity by 40 percent. If you try to accomplish other tasks during a meeting, you’re likely missing out on important information. Take notes, but don’t try to perform other tasks that will pull you away from the conference.
6. If You’re the Presenter, Consider Using a Visual Aid
Presenting on a video conference has its own unique challenges. Sometimes it’s tough to keep everyone’s attention when you don’t have access to the resources at the office, such as a whiteboard or projector. Instead, try to create a visual aid that you can use on the conference call.
Most video conferencing software allows you to share your screen, so you can create a slideshow to make the topic easier to grasp for your viewers. As it turns out, people retain about 65 percent of information from presentations with visual and oral elements compared to about 10 of oral-only presentations.
7. Avoid Looking at the Presentation Screen
It’s often tempting to look at yourself in the presentation screen, so you know how you look to everyone else. Unfortunately, this makes it look like your gaze is a little off. Look directly into the camera so you can make “eye contact” when you’re speaking or being spoken to. Of course, if you’re watching a presentation or something similar, you have some license to look at the screen.
8. Ensure You’re On Time and Consider Time Zone Differences
Just because a conference is online doesn’t mean you can treat the start time any more casually than a regular meeting. Make sure you log in on time. Getting in a few minutes early is always a good idea, too. It will give you time to check your technology and prepare.
Video conferencing often involves talking to people in different regions and time zones. If the time zone isn’t clear and there is any ambiguity, clarify it so everyone is on the same page and you can start your meeting without any hiccups.
9. Mind Your Camera Angle and Body Position
If you’re not used to video conferencing, finding the right angle can be tricky. You’ll want to position your camera with a slight downward angle straight in front of you. Many webcams work by clipping to the top of a monitor, and this is usually a good spot to shoot for. It hits at eye level for many people, which is where you want your camera to be. If you’re working from a laptop, try placing it on top of a stack of books to give it height.
When you’re on camera, sit up straight with your shoulders back. Try not to move around too much, like bouncing your leg or messing with your hair, as these movements can be distracting to others.
10. Ensure You Have a Fast and Secure Network Connection
You can’t have a successful video conference if you can’t stay connected. Avoid dropped calls, low-quality images and lagging video by making sure your network connection is fast and dependable. You’ll also want to follow best practices for secure video conferencing, so you don’t risk your private business conversations becoming public knowledge.
Hosting a video conference soon? At Consolidated Technologies, Inc., we offer technology solutions that fit the needs of a variety of businesses. Our unified communications approach helps employees work efficiently from wherever they are, and we can set up network connections to improve the performance of all of your communications. Check us out online to learn more about how Consolidated Technologies, Inc. can boost your video conferencing abilities.