5 Ways to Be Less Awkward on a Video Conference Call
Video conferencing can be stigmatized and I, like you, have definitely had that first…uncomfortable video call. Cringe-worthy hyperawareness and outside distraction can prevent proper focus and, sometimes – the software just doesn’t work. Videonor’s robust solution, coupled with proper prep and practice – will help you knock your next meeting out of the park.
- Clean up your frame. Lots of us are working remotely now, and very often at home. Tidy up. Something as small as pushing drink coasters to the side or getting the dog bed out of frame can go a long way. Minimalism is typically better – that said, appropriate pictures/paintings can go a long way for aesthetic and conversation driving when appropriate.
- Test your lighting. Best case scenario is a naturally lit office with the light source coming in on the side or in front of you. If you’re like the majority of people who don’t have that big beautiful corner office, one trick to capture great lighting is to avoid LED lights in favor of warm lightbulbs (desk/floor lamp), that will give you more dimension. Additionally, the sole use of direct overhead lighting is not flattering and can make you appear washed out and tired.
- Shutdown potential distractions before they happen. Turn your phone on silent, close out all your non-work related tabs on your computer. I’m sure your cat is extremely cute, but not so much when he’s walking across your keyboard during an important discussion. Also prep your spouse and kids that you’re unavailable for the allotted time.
- Look the part. When working from home the last thing you want to do is get out of your comfy pajamas. That’s half the fun, right? Knowing your audience is important – consider dress to be a situation specific rule of thumb. If it’s ad hoc to talk about a random report with a trusted contemporary or a needs to happen ASAP kind of emergency discussion – no one’s going to comment on a t-shirt. But for more formal occasions, or ones you don’t have a total pulse on, throw a nice shirt on and look presentable — at least from the waist up.
- Get Used to the Tools: Give your meeting a test run in a safe place. Video with a friend or family member. Practice in the mirror – especially if you’re singing! Just get comfortable with the logging in process, your volume, etc. The first time I sat down for a meeting I was prepared with the exception of knowing how to actually log in. Then you’re fumbling around trying to find links, passwords, mic and camera enablements, etc. Remember, practice makes perfect.
And you’re off! I promise it gets easier – eventually it’s as easy as using the phone. Knowing that you have all your ducks in a row in advance will give you the confidence you need to look and feel comfortable. I’ve found an increase in productivity and clarity meetings, in addition to stronger business relationships.
Best of luck on your next video meeting!