Now that Zoom and Teams video conferencing, interviews and meetings are commonplace, it’s time to ‘up your game’.
The media now regularly interview guests over the internet, most businesses have online conferences and it’s the same for most of the working world. “But doing a video call is so simple” – WRONG. Getting it right is important. Read on for ten essential tips that will ensure you are seen as the professional in your meetings, interviews, conferences and presentations.
- Try not to look at your screen. People like to be talked to directly, so look at your camera to appear that you are looking at them. If this is hard, put a bright dot or post it note just under your webcam in that way your eyes are drawn to it.
- Think about lighting. Always try to face a window if there is one. The light will brighten your face and darken the background. If there is no accessible window, go into a darker room and place a light behind the computer (but try not to be overexposed in light).
- Camera angles should be at eye level or slightly above. It may be wise to invest in an external 1080p webcam as they are much better than those in a standard laptop.
- Turn off notifications. Not only will pop up notifications disrupt your eye contact, but they can also make you lose your train of thought. This does not look good in interviews and presentations.
- Do not silence your phone, turn it off! Sometimes notifications can come through even though you have muted it, this is just another distraction.
- Think about your surroundings. You do not really need to be told that having a mess in the background is unprofessional. However, you can use the opportunity to have your company logo screen made as a backdrop or use a virtual background.
- If you need headphones, use the wired kind with a long cord. Bluetooth headphones look great until you have a connectivity or battery issue which is not so great.
- Silence the room. At home, turn the television off, take the landline off the hook, keep pets in another room – and children. If you are expecting deliveries leave a note to leave it at the door. Unwanted background noise and distractions can ruin a call.
- Make sure your name is professional. Just in case it’s seen on screen, make sure it’s your name and organisation.
- Practice makes perfect. This is a given in any professional circumstance. If you are hosting, enter the call 5 minutes early to check your sound and camera is working perfectly. If not practice before on your webcam programme and watch it back.