Below are a few tips to remember before jumping on a video call with your team or a client.
1.) Look Behind You. When setting up your work space, look at what your viewers will see behind you. We are human; therefore, we will be distracted. Does your background represent what you would want your clients and colleagues to remember about you? Take a moment to create an atmosphere that serves your professional brand and values, or choose a simple, clean wall background. The some video conferencing platforms will allow users to choose a background. Choose wisely. The bottom line is that you do not want your background or surroundings to be so distracting that people are not able to pay attention to the value you are offering during the call.
With our current crisis, many of us are faced with new work from home (“wfh”) strategies and routines. Video conferencing has been an essential component to working effectively. However, are we putting our best foot forward when jumping on a call with colleagues and clients? With so many team meetings and work being done via video conference, it is still important to be professional and consider your personal brand.
2.) Professional Grooming. Although most people are more relaxed right now, we should be careful not to be too relaxed. We are not on vacation, we are still working. When you show up for work on a video call, be sure you still are well groomed and casually professional. A disheveled team member and can result in less trust and credibility from a client or colleague.
3.) Know Your Angles. Understanding the best camera placement is important. The wrong placement can be awkward, and again distracting. I was recently on a video call and one of the participants had the camera very low on the ground, with the camera facing up… sigh. Try to place the camera as close to eye-level or shoulder-level as possible.
4.) Let Your Light Shine. Lighting is important on video calls. You want viewers to see you and not a dark shadow. Make sure the majority of the light is behind the camera or side light for the best lighting. Natural light is always best. Also, take a moment to clean your camera to ensure there is not dust or a fog on the camera.
5.) Hit that Mute Button. As soon as you enter the video conference, be sure you are familiar with where the mute button is located and able to use it. When you are not speaking, as a courtesy, stay on mute. There are noises around you that you are likely not aware is happening. Microphones will pick up typing, movement, sirens, etc. In addition, when it is time for you to contribute to the call, you want to be able to do this seamlessly.
6.) Eat and Drink Later. Just as we would not likely come to a client meeting with a large Big Gulp fountain drink or eat a full course dinner during a meeting, be discreet with eating and drinking on video calls. It can be distracting to see someone turning up a bottle or struggling to keep lettuce from dropping on his or her lap.
7.) Join the Party. If the majority of the team is joining via video, try your best to also join via video. Try to avoid being the team member that decided to not turn on video and only join via audio. Engaging and showing a friendly face is important during these times when people are craving connection.
These are just a few fun and practical tips to remember when jumping on a video call and remaining professional during this time of working from home.
Let me know if any of these tips were helpful to you.