Welcome to the future where video calls are part and parcel of any social interaction. It’s something we can’t avoid as physical meetings are no longer an option thanks to Ms. Rona (cue the introverts’ sigh of relief).
Because video calls are now an important part in any organisation’s business dealings, it’s important that you keep up with how to make the best impression with your webcam on. Here are some guidelines.
Test your mic and camera This goes without saying. You’re wasting everyone’s time by spending the first 10 minutes trying to figure out why no one can hear you. If the mic button is already unmuted, make sure your computer mic is also unmuted.
Choose a suitable background (or a virtual one!) Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to clean up your room or to find the best spot around the house to conduct your meetings (everyone at home is probably working from home too). Check out the many virtual backgrounds Zoom has to offer here. If you have the skills, make up your own like this guy right here.
Dress for the occasion (from waist up at least) But you already know this. One of the perks of #WFH is that you don’t need to change out of your pyjama pants before getting on a call.
Let people around you know that you’ll be in a call If you have roommates or family members who are also working from home, let them know you’ll be on a call so they won’t be making any loud noises or walking by unexpectedly. If possible, try to ensure kids and pets don’t randomly walk in. That will however lighten up the mood of the call!
Mute your mic when you’re not speaking Some background noise is unavoidable like construction from the house next door or babies crying. To avoid having that when someone is speaking, click the little mic button when you’re not speaking and click it again when you’re about to!
Clear your screen if you’ll be doing a screen share Because any open apps i.e. WhatsApp, YouTube etc that have personal content will also be shared. Yikes.
Sit in front or next to a light source Having a lot of backlight will make you look like a shadow. Sit next to or in front of a light source so people can properly see you.
Multitask Unless it’s a very casual meeting, it’s highly unprofessional and disrespectful as you are clearly not paying attention to what a client or colleague is talking about during the call. Eating and smoking are a BIG NO NO! Avoid this at all costs unless you’re trying to get fired.
Start a spontaneous video call Unlike your friends, you cannot just randomly start a conference call without warning. With clients, you might want to give them a day’s notice or if it’s urgent, check to see if they’re free for a call later in the day. With colleagues, check with them to see if they can jump into a call a few hours before you plan on organising the call.
Talk over someone Interrupting someone mid-sentence? That’s just rude.
Record the call without anyone’s knowledge Recording the call without letting the attendees of the call know is an invasion of privacy. Despite it being a formal meeting or interview, it’s common courtesy to let everyone know that you’ll be recording the call for whatever purpose. People usually act more professional when they know what they’re about to say is being recorded.
Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash