On the onset of COVID-19, Communication and flexibility have increased, collaboration has become more efficient, and working remotely is no longer an unrealistic perk; it’s the new norm.
As more and more business professionals are no longer co-located, it’s more important than ever to be up to date with the latest remote work tools to help you work from home with confidence.
Perhaps the most crucial tool, and one that you can’t get very far without, is video conferencing software.
In a recently held virtual workshop with Alila Wekoto of Gumzo, Alila shared a few tips on that most of us could be overlooking during video calls. The tips could also you from the chat blunders and align your team around best practices,
In addition to the tips he shared, here are a few more tips that can help you moving forward as you work from home and connect with other coworkers during virtual meetings:
Ensure that the location of your video conference call has great lighting. This means you should not have any sun streaks on your face or be backlit. Low lighting is not favourable either. If you can’t get the lighting you need from the space you’re in, bring in another source of consistent lightings, such as your living room lamp.
Once you have your webcam lighting setup ready, be sure to test it before you go live! Open up a tool like Photo Booth on Macbook and adjust your light setup until you look your best.
Pro tip: once you find a setup that works for you, keep it as is! You won’t have to spend more time setting it up for your next video call.
Mute yourself when you are not speaking. It’s the cardinal rule of video conferencing etiquette. This rule is easy to follow in theory, but maybe not so easy in practice. You would not believe how many people forget to mute their microphones and force their entire group of meeting participants to listen to annoying background noises. It is so simple for you to easily mute yourself when you’re listening and unmute yourself when you’re speaking.
As with all types of video streaming, a strong and reliable internet connection is crucial. Test your wi-fi beforehand to ensure that your network can support video conferencing. If it cannot, consider using an ethernet cable for a more stable connection. If you run into internet problems, keep in mind that you may have to turn off your webcam to improve the overall performance of your connection.
Looking professional means something different to everyone. If you’re feeling unsure, your best bet is to dress up rather than dress down. Keep in mind that your typical in-office dress code should still be observed, especially if you’re on a video conference call with your manager or people you need to impress.
There really is nothing more embarrassing than sharing your screen for all your colleagues to discover that you forgot to close out of a personal conversation on Slack or a questionable tab was left open. Do yourself a favor and clean everything up before you start the meeting. Make sure that everything that needs to be pulled up for the meeting is ready, and everything that does not need to be there is out of sight.
Now that your desktop is clear and ready for the meeting, you should turn off your notifications. This ensures that you will not receive any interrupting alerts or preview messages that appear while you are sharing your screen. There is nothing more annoying than constant pings from your social media, instant messaging, or lead scoring software going off.
The greatest advantages of video conferencing are all the features that come with it. There are chat boxes to use if you don’t want to interrupt the current conversation being had, polls, screen sharing, record options, branding features, webinar modes, and so much more. These features enhance your meetings in ways that could never be done in-person. Use them to your advantage.
Most professionals understand the importance of looking well-groomed for a video conference, but they should also consider what’s going on directly behind them. Advise your team to clean up anything that will show in the video frame and clear out items that colleagues or clients shouldn’t see.
This is especially important for those working from home where kids, spouses, roommates, or pets could walk into the shot during a meeting.