Modern business are becoming increasingly likely to hold meetings through video calls rather than face to face. It affords convenience for all parties involved- no travel required, connections not as easily formed through voice only calls can be achieved, near elimination of geographical barriers. While this form of communication no doubt alleviates some stresses, it presents other unique issues and points of etiquette. Dressing for an in-person interview may feel almost second nature, but how do you present yourself on camera? How do you troubleshoot or avoid technical issues? While it may feel daunting at first, with a little effort you can make sure you’re fully prepared.
Even if you can see the others in your chat, it’s not good if you can’t hear each other clearly. To ensure you can be heard, set up your meeting in a quiet room with minimal background noise. Closing the door and turning off any desk or overhead fans may help. Entrepreneur suggests muting your own microphone “even when you’re alone in the room” to help other participants be heard more clearly; no interference from breathing or rustling clothes to muddle the sound. Do, however, remember to turn the microphone back on when you start to speak again. Most importantly, have your phone silenced and, ideally, put away during the chat. Nothing breaks the flow of ideas quite like someone’s ring tone going off mid-sentence. This could also be viewed as extremely rude by the other parties involved.
Practice Makes Perfect
Nothing helps a conference go smoothly more than simply being prepared. If you feel uncomfortable going into a meeting unscripted, make yourself some note cards with key talking points and important figures. Just as with notecards, it may be beneficial to practice speaking out loud to avoid a tied tongue mid meeting. Allow plenty of time in advance to test your connection with a colleague. It would also be wise to make sure the camera is pointing the right way, situated at an appropriate height, and functioning properly. Group video chat services such as BlueJeans can make setup simple, eliminating a lot of worry and hassle by simplifying the process.
Be aware of what will be seen and how it will be seen. Proper lighting is integral to the success of your call. Avoid harsh back lighting, opting instead to have a soft light source coming from one side. Natural light is often too harsh so draw the curtains or close the blinds to avoid glare. Seeing is just as important as being seen. When speaking, be sure to look into the camera and not at the picture of yourself on the screen. This can make the difference between seeming truly engaged and appearing bored or distracted. Be sure your meeting space is clean. If you have the option of participating in a chat from home, be sure to have any messes out of view (including but not limited to laundry and dishes). Choose an area without distracting wall hangings or decorations.
Dress to Impress
Meeting via video may feel more relaxed but you should still make an effort to dress appropriately; maybe even more so since you have your image on a screen to consider. Remain professional and clean cut. The Nest suggests well-tailored, timeless clothing for both women and men; consider forgoing heavy layers, frills, or low necklines. It is also best to avoid small, complex patterns. These don’t show up well on camera and may cause a distraction. Opt instead for solid, natural colors. Makeup, when applicable, should be conservative; for men, a clean-shaven look is best. Avoid distracting accessories such as gaudy necklaces that can shift and cause microphone interference while you speak. Allow yourself to be the point of focus while speaking.
From dressing appropriately to speaking clearly, there are many points to consider while setting up a group video chat. Though it may seem intimidating at first, when you take the time to plan and think it through it may actually prove to be quite simple. Proper preparation will help you come across as confident and qualified even if you feel otherwise.