As more companies shift to remote working, the personal side of employees is unexpectedly being broadcast. From kids coming to stare at the webcam during video conferencing sessions to pets playing in the background; work-from-home meetings are turning out to be live comedy episodes.
If you want to maintain dignity and respect among your colleagues, it’s important to prepare well for video conferences. From digesting the agenda beforehand to ensuring your tech gear is working correctly, you can take simple yet critical actions that will make you look smarter and command respect in your organization.
Here are a couple of hacks you can employ to look smarter in the next video conferencing call.
Set Up Your Background Environment
When it comes to video, the subject background matters.
Spruce it up to make it appear professional. You can also add some personalization but don’t overdo it. A case full of books in the background will provide a great impression and make you look smarter.
Avoid using a sheet to cover the background, unless you are trying to hide personal items cluttering the space.
Dress to Impress
Yes, it’s a virtual call but you shouldn’t be in your pajamas during a video conference, even if your time zone dictates otherwise.
Dress to impress in front of the webcam. A formal look goes a long way in making you look smart and professional.
If your company culture is laid back, you can get away with wearing tees. However, you might still want to go with something plain. The last thing you want is for the meeting attendees to be fixated on your T-shirt’s hippie graphics throughout the meeting.
Light Up the Environment
Lighting makes all the difference in videos. Therefore, ensure you are well lit. You don’t want to seem as if you are taking the call from a cave somewhere.
Check the lighting available in your home office. If it’s sufficient, you are good to go. Otherwise, switch on your white fluorescent or open the curtains to let in some natural light.
For night meetings, you absolutely need to ensure the room is well-lit. Sit in front of your laptop and check how you look on the webcam video before the meeting starts.
Follow Video Conferencing Etiquette
During the meeting, follow video conferencing etiquette. For example, ensure that there is no noise from your background. This may mean locking yourself in the home office to keep the kids away.
And of course, things like chewing or eating during the meeting are a big NO! You only get a pass for the occasional sip of water.
Know How to Use the Conference Software
Practice using video conferencing software before the meeting. You should know where to find the controls for various tasks such as screen sharing, muting the microphone, recording, and so on.
If you are using a conferencing software for the first time, take about 30 minutes to familiarize yourself with it before the meeting starts.
Maintain Eye Contact
When the meeting starts, position yourself at the center of the screen and maintain eye contact with other participants. Maintaining eye contact gets attendees to pay attention to what you are saying.
Avoid slouching on your chair or fidgeting around during the meeting. Being composed and calm goes a long way in making you appear professional.
Keep the camera slightly elevated, just above your eye line. This will make you look more natural on camera as it will be pointing down at you.
Looking professional and smarter in a video conference is not rocket science. Try the above hacks on your next video conferencing call and you’re sure to command respect and get compliments on how smart you are.