Video calling is now more than ever the most popular form of communicating across several industries – but just how well are you doing it? Of course it’s simple to sit in front of your web camera and engaging with the person on your screen but it’s important to keep in mind how you go about doing this. Since it’s the new office, it may as well be professional. In this article give you a short guide to video calling in a professional context.
This is the first factor to consider because it dictates where you’ll be sitting. Natural light is best when you’re video calling – open up the blinds or curtains and let it in. Having a window behind you may not be an ideal way to light up your shot. The glaring light brightens everything up and turns you into a silhouette. Instead, sit either right in front the window facing it or no more than 45 degrees away from directly in front of you. If there is no source of natural lighting, a desk lamp and even your computer can work just as well if your turn up the brightness.
A good shot is not where you’re so close to the camera the only thing filling your screen is your face, nor where you're so far away you take up a small corner of space on the screen. There is one, and only one, acceptable camera angle: head-on and at eye level. Usually your desk is lower than your face, and that means people are going to get an unflattering look up at you. Use a set of books, a stool, or a higher table to make sure your camera is at the same level as your eyes. You don’t want people to feel like they are looking up or down at you. Make sure that you look at the camera, this way there is no disconnect between you and the other person, it mimics a real-life, face-to-face interaction.
Pay very close attention to what is in your background. You may be working from home but what is behind you should be appropriate as a courtesy to others. If you have family members, roommates or visitors around, let them know beforehand that you will be in a meeting to avoid unexpected appearances. Many platforms such as Skype for Business, Zoom and several others have features that allow you to blur your background or even add a virtual background effect, that way anything that creeps behind you is completely unknown to the next person.
Noise is part of our everyday lives and in most cases may even be hard to control but during a professional video call, you may need to find a quiet spot that's free from interruptions. Laptops today come with a built in microphone and speakers but these may not be ideal for video calling. When sound from the speakers makes its way back to the mic, you get a loop that can cause unpleasant echoes or even aggressive feedback. Plugging in your headphones during the call will prevent that from happening. Headphones also make it way easier to hear everyone in the call so nobody has to repeat themselves over and over.
You may find yourself sipping, coughing, yawning or making other unappreciated sounds as others are speaking so don't be afraid to use mute button when you're not talking.
NB: pyjamas during a professional video call are a big no. Instead dress comfortably but appropriately. Much like a real meeting, moving around and standing up to stretch or get a glass of water may not be considered good corporate etiquette. So if it's a long meeting, make sure you're in a comfortable seat and have everything you'll need nearby.
With face-to-face meetings on hold at the moment, video calling is the new conference room. For that professional touch, keep your lighting in mind, frame your shot well, keep the background noise minimal and lastly but most importantly, be comfortable (but appropriate). Looking to integrate a video calling platform on your Learning Management System or SharePoint intranet? Contact Sound Idea Digital for a consultation.[Back]
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