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Video Calls a follow up to social graces article

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In my last blog “Social Graces Making A Come Back Via Video Calls” I promised that I would give you suggestions on how to make a great impression during your next video call. Below are suggestions that I hope will help you. I’ve also attached a few articles that I read on the subject.

Know Your Technology: I’m going to assume that at this point you have a computer, tablet or phone with video call capabilities and that you have made yourself familiar with both your hardware and the software you will be using. If you are not familiar with the systems, please take the time to get familiar with it before the call. You do not want to be on the call and have that distracted, confused look on your face.

  • Do practices calls with friends or family members to make sure everything works the way you want it too and work out any bugs in your setup.
  • Your camera should be setup so that your head and shoulders are in the frame and so that the camera is equal height with your eyes. The other party should not be looking up or down at you. It should feel like you are sitting across the desk from one another.
  • Headsets can help you avoid some of the audio issues that arise from using standard microphones and speakers.
  • Get comfortable with any lag time that your connection has. It will help you minimize talking over the other party.

Control Your Environment: Start by making sure that what the other party sees and hears only what you want them to see and hear. Be sure your environment looks as professional as you do.

  • Make sure you have favorable lighting. Overhead lights and direct sun light can be unflattering I suggest using adjustable desk lamps so that you can control lighting conditions.
  • Prepare your background by de-cluttering your desk, shelves and any other surfaces that will be seen by the camera.
  • Double check to make sure any artwork that can be seen is tasteful and non-distracting. You don’t want to offend or distract the other party.
  • Dress in light colors against a darker background or dark colors against a lighter background.
  • Microphones can pick up sounds that you don’t want to transmit so be careful not to tap your fingers or pen on the desk.
  • Remove any pets or other noise making distractions from your area.
  • Make sure to silence your phone and any other electronic devises as you will not want them to become a distraction.

Put Your Best Foot Forward: It’s time to show off your professionalism. I suggest that you dress like you are conducting the meeting in person.

  • Make sure to get plenty of rest and try to be relaxed before the meeting.
  • Be careful to dress appropriately and yet comfortably. While in some cases you will want to dress up for an interview or meeting, you don’t want to come across as stiff because you are uncomfortable in a suite that you’ve never worn before. You also don’t want to wear a polo shirt when a shirt and tie is called for.
  • Don’t make the mistake of dressing from the waist up only. If the other party discovers that you are doing this it could harm your credibility.

During the meeting: Try to remain calm, focused and professional.

  • Keep a glass of water nearby in order to wet your whistle if necessary.
  • Use the picture in picture feature so that you can see what the other party sees.
  • When you are talking look at the camera and not down at the screen or your desk. Again it should feel like you are looking the other party in the eyes from across the desk.
  • Posture and body language are important. Sit up straight, shoulders back, with your body angled slightly to one side and your head facing forward. Sitting this way instead of square to the camera, is a subtle way to add polish on-camera.

 

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