Video call fails. We’ve seen it all before: the cat comes into frame, the kids bust down your office door, you fail to notice that pile of laundry in the background of your frame. While these mishaps can make for funny anecdotes later on—the rise of video conferencing in an increasingly remote and global workforce means that hitches like these will become less amusing and more frustrating for teammates and clients.
Take heart! There are ways to avoid video call fails and look like the consummate professional that you are (even if you’re wearing sweat pants on bottom and a dress shirt on top). We’ve gathered 5 tips to help you stay flawless during all of your video calls:
1. Set the stage.
Remember that the camera is not just focused on your face but shows parts of the room you’re in. Be cognizant of your surroundings. Pre-check the frame ahead of time just in case that latest load of clean laundry is right there in the background. And, if your kids are at home, make sure they know when they can’t disturb you.
2. Find a quiet place.
Not everyone has a home office, and not every call is prescheduled so you can be in a quiet space when the meeting starts. Airports, coffee shops, even the back of an Uber have all become totally viable places to have a quick video call with your peers and clients. If this is the case (even some of the time) then invest in a good headset. While iPhone headphones can work in a pinch, think about something that can help reduce background noise so your fellow conference callers can hear you and not the busy buzz of the traffic around you.
3. Stick to the agenda.
It can be tempting to engage in casual banter with your call mates, especially if you work remotely and only see them on video. While this is totally fine, try to keep the chit chat to five minutes or less at the start of a call. Set the agenda BEFORE the meeting and stick to it as much as possible. Nothing sours a meeting, or a person’s day, like The Meeting That Never Ends.
4. Smile, you’re on camera.
This is something that people often forget: you are always on camera! Watch your facial expressions and your movements. Even on video calls participants rely on visual cues likes facial expressions and body language to gauge a person’s interest levels and reaction to information. The age of voice only calls where you can stifle a yawn or put the call on mute while you quickly finish your snack are over.
5. Test your platform.
In a perfect world, your conference platform will always work, there will be no jitter, no packet loss, no fading. But, this isn’t a perfect world. If you’re using a platform that is unfamiliar to you, be sure to test it out before the call. Many platforms allow for audio level and video testing prior to calls so you can make sure your device has what it needs to get the call done. If not you give yourself time to find something that does work instead of making your other call mates wait for you to jump on.
Did we leave out any important tips? Be sure to let us know and you may be featured in an upcoming post or get a shout out on social!