It’s time to enter the virtual world of video conferencing. Below are best practices that should be adhered to in the corporate world. Yes, many of us are working remotely now, but presenting ourselves as professional and courteous should still be expected. This will speak volumes about your work ethic and commitment to the company.
Be Prepared. Before joining the conference call, make sure that you are looking professional and appropriately dressed. Showing up in your PJs or looking like you just rolled out of bed may not be the best way to present yourself. Familiarize yourself with the agenda so that you know what the meeting is going to be about, and then join the video conference. Be on time and be ready to take notes.
Test Your Hardware. Ensure you have a reliable internet connection so that you do not get disconnected during the meeting or have lagging audio and video. This can be disruptive during the meeting and hinder the flow of communication. Most video services have a feature to allow you to test your microphone, audio, and camera beforehand to ensure that everything is working correctly. There’s nothing more frustrating than joining a conference and realizing one of these elements does not work. Also, be sure to adjust your camera so that it’s centered on you and not pointed at the top of your head or the floor. Sitting at a desk or table will provide stability to the computer and camera as well.
Pick the Right Environment. Your surrounding environment also contributes to your professional appearance. Select a place that’s quiet and well-lit. A light pointed towards you will work better for video conferencing instead of having the light behind you (i.e., sitting in front of a window will make you look like a dark, ominous shadow figure.). Try to find a place that has a neutral background that will not be distracting to your fellow video conference call members. If there is a TV, other people, or pets around, consider finding a different location that is distraction-free.
Be Respectful. Yes, we’re talking about virtual meetings right now – but they are very much like in-person meetings. Eating during a meeting, performing noisy tasks, or picking your nose are things that we would refrain from doing at the office. They would be viewed as rude or disrespectful. Remember that everyone can still see and hear you, so it’s best to wait to have a snack, respond to emails, or perform private habits until after the call, if possible.
Additional Tips. To make the video conference go smoother and feel natural, use the same types of mannerisms you would use in person. Be yourself. Look at the webcam so that you’re engaged and “making eye contact” rather than staring at the computer screen. Muting your microphone when you aren’t the speaker can also reduce unwanted and distracting background noise. Remember, this is your job. These are your employees, teammates, and bosses that you’re meeting with…so, put your best foot forward!