How to get Comfortable with Video Calls
Virtual meetings have been a thing for a while. I’ve been doing video meetings for the last 3 years and I’ll admit it was very awkward at first, but I eased into it. I never wanted to be on camera and found it to be drudgery, but today I’ve done a pivot and loving the opportunity to connect with people through video.
I have a lot of empathy for those of you that are just getting familiar with this technology. I’m a people person for sure and during this quarantine it’s become clear that I need to see people and connect. At Morae, I’ve decided to turn on my video for all customer meetings. Clients are turning theirs on too and it’s been an excellent way to connect professionally. Especially for new clients that I would have been meeting in person, now we get to see each other on video.
I’ve been using it personally too. Catching up with friends from the 5th grade that live in different cities, girlfriends down the road and my family that are located in different parts of the country. I can’t explain how it makes me feel when I see my colleagues, clients, old friends and family members, but I smile when I hang up and it gives me hope that everything is going to be okay.
Pick a spot close to a window if you can. Open your shades and let the natural light in. Adjust your screen brightness too, especially if you have the natural light coming in. As far as dress, a video meeting requires only the top half of your body to be business, as long as you stay in position. Collared shirts that have more structure look better than flowing unstructured necklines. Also, a splash of color can work in your favor if you like. I personally opt for bright white and neutrals.
This one is huge people! There is only one acceptable camera angle, head-on and at eye level. Your desk or table is going to be lower than your face giving an unflattering look. Use books or a stool, or higher table. The goal is to have the camera at the same level as your eyes. It is the best way to feel comfortable doing video calls.
Make sure your Wi-Fi connection has enough juice for video. That is the most painful thing during video meetings, the video not working. You want to show up to your meeting ready to go. Zoom and WebEx have a preview before you turn on the video. If this is your first video meeting practice, record yourself make all the adjustments needed and perhaps test with a colleague. Make sure you are always looking into the camera while you are speaking. It may seem more natural to look at yourself on the screen, but you can come across aloof or that you are busy doing responding to emails. You will become a pro with practice. (have some fun with backgrounds – Zoom has some fun options, which work as an icebreaker at the start of the meeting)
This is a big one. Try not to be on speaker. The back ground noise is terrible and it sounds garbled. You don’t need to talk louder with a good headset with a microphone. This was a game changer for me and I highly recommend. (Plantronics Voyager Focus UC Bluetooth)
Similar to a physical meeting, you shouldn’t be moving around. I opt for my standing desk. Make sure you have your charger, water at hand so you have everything you would have at your fingertips. You will need to pay attention the entire meeting so prepare! ( I’m a huge fan of veridesk.com for stand/sit desk options)
Hope these tips are helpful and turn on your video! The more you do it the more natural it will feel. Remember to have fun and practice!
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