Camera on or off? How to dress? How to set a good frame? What to do if a courier calls unexpectedly or there are technical problems? These are not the only questions (and challenges!) that participants of online meetings face. Teleconferences are already a part of our everyday life (we have been working this way for many months), so we decided to share with you some tips and best practices that we have developed in our team.
No. 1: Dress code matters
It is always a good idea to look professional when it comes to any type of talk (whether on or off camera, with a teammate or client). That doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a suit (unless that is what your job requires), but it is important to remember to dress for the situation. So it is better to forgo a stretched sweatshirt in favor of a casual shirt. Just because you work from home does not mean you don’t need to take care of your appearance.
Tip: take a few moments to put on the right outfit, even if it is for a non-video conference. You never know if someone will propose turning on the video feed.
No. 2: Camera off or on?
Whether the camera should be on or off depends on the rules of the meeting. However, keep in mind that not everyone is comfortable with having their camera on and you should respect that. There are many reasons for this – from simple shyness to a reluctance to show your home. Using empathy, and avoiding harsh judgments and demands will definitely foster a friendlier atmosphere for conversation.
No. 3: Clear communication
During online meetings, make sure that everyone can hear you clearly. Try to eliminate any noise or clamor that might disturb other participants. Do not interrupt other participants during the conversation. If you are not speaking, mute your microphone. Use headphones with a microphone to reduce outside noise and improve sound quality.
No. 4: Unexpected difficulties
What should you do if a courier rings your doorbell with an important package in the middle of a conversation? Or if your child runs unexpectedly into the room? Don’t worry! It’s has happened to the best of us. . Do you remember how, during an interview for the BBC, the expert’s daughter entered his office (with a dance step), followed by another child in a walker, followed by his wife? Courier visits, temporary technical problems or unexpected intrusions are not the most welcome events during teleconferences, but they do happen. In such a situation, it is best to smile and apologize for the unscheduled interruption or technical issues, and then continue the meeting.
No. 5: Screen sharing
Screen sharing is an extremely useful option. One click and your interlocutor can see what is on your screen and what you want to show them. However, there are some dangers of screen sharing. First of all, you can see everything that is open. Consider whether your current wallpaper looks professional (cats or teddy bears may not be the best choice). Secondly, think about whether you have any pages or windows open that can be perceived negatively, such as Facebook, Allegro or private chats.
No. 6: Hardware and applications
Take time to check your hardware before scheduled meetings. It is a good idea to make sure that:
your laptop is charged,
your microphone and headphones are working in the video conferencing application,
you have the right link to the meeting and
there are no problems with your Internet connection.
Be punctual and prepared – do not keep other participants waiting.
No. 7: Good framing is your ally
How you position the camera and what kind of background you use really matters. Try to be visible from the middle of your chest or waist up. After all, your interlocutors need to see more than your forehead. Also pay attention to what is behind you – chaos (even creative chaos) and mess (e.g. scattered clothes) may not be best for your image.
Tip: it is a good idea to position yourself in such a way that you have a clean background behind you, e.g. a wall. This will eliminate the problem of clutter. If you are in a difficult situation, choose a background from your online meeting software.
We hope our tips will help you feel more confident during your virtual conversations. Good luck!