You know how it is. This thing with technology, when it’s just desperate. We only become truly effective when we can use the technology to our advantage. One thing that keeps coming back to me in this process is the subject of video telephony. And I must say, I’m really a fan of it. For the simple reason that in the meantime not only the auditory but also the visual channel is operated. For one thing, it’s more fun, and for another, it allows you to work in a completely different way. Here are 10 practical tips to make your next video call a success.
1. Camera alignment
You should not aim your camera too high or too low. If your image appears in the middle of the screen, it is perfect! Just test beforehand whether your camera is correctly aligned so that people don’t look up your nose from below or upside down.
2. Lighting conditions
It happens again and again that people sit in front of the window during the call. Unfortunately, this is not a good idea, because it dazzles the camera and the person you are talking to cannot see you. When you are in the office, make sure the lighting conditions are as natural as possible. The light should come from the front, but at the same time not cast any shadows on your face.
3. Place the laptop
This point could be especially important for videos from the home office. Place the laptop on a (desk) table. There is nothing worse when your computer is wobbling on its knees. Also, in this position the camera is much too deep and may film right into your nostrils.
4th place for important things
Think about sufficient space. You want to work professionally and therefore you may simply need space for working materials or to take notes.
Maybe you use video calls for your One-on-One’s. Prepare your calls like you would prepare all your meetings. Unfortunately, I have experienced video calls myself, which were much more unprofessional than what would ever happen on the phone.
The background may be presentable. Although you can hold your video conference wherever you want, it is still nicer to sit in front of a neutral wall than to present last night’s kitchen chaos to the person opposite. Also, your background should not be moving, it is distracting. And if you want to do it professionally, you can get a folding green screen and change the background with an appropriate program.
7. Mobile phone off
Trivial, but important. Nothing disturbs a conference anymore if one or more participants are distracted by mobile phones, e-mails or other things. “Staying on task” is just as important in a call as in any other call, so that the conference leads to the desired success.
8. mastering background noise
Especially in open-plan offices it can get loud. This is then simply not a suitable place for video calls. If possible, find a quiet corner, close doors and windows and reduce the surrounding noise. You can also use stands that absorb noise from outside.
9. Talk quieter and use a headset
Most integrated microphones are better than you think. Better start quietly, because often this is sufficient. You don’t have to shout and the person you’re talking to doesn’t have to turn the sound down. If you do need a little louder, you can always adjust the settings on your computer. Otherwise, headsets are also highly recommended. They allow you to speak very quietly. For one thing, you don’t hear the noise around you as strongly and you can hear the person you are talking to very well.
10. speaking slowly
With video calls you are welcome to speak a little more clearly than usual. You can see your partner, but he or she cannot understand you as well as if you were actually sitting opposite him or her. Perhaps there is noise from the background or the audio doesn’t transmit everything. Basically when speaking in videos: I like it a little slower and clearer.
Write me your opinion about this episode to firstname.lastname@example.org! Gladly also, if you still have points to add!
Stay in lead!
OLAF KAPINSKI 🙂