How You Can Impress Your Superiors with 9 Simple Video Conferencing Rules!
Do you ever feel have the feeling that your behaviour on video conferences with your work colleagues and supervisors would jeopardise your career? You might not believe it but a Japanese worker was fired after one month because of several reasons: wearing a cardigan over his dress shirt, his chin being out of frame several times and his knee was visible in the call.
While this may seem like an extreme example, there is indeed some video conference etiquette that all employees should be aware when in a conversation with your supervisors. With over 90% of the employees in Singapore keen to continue working from home and the extended measures of the re-opening of Singapore after COVID-19, it seems like video conferencing for work and catching up with friends.
The need for you to meet the expectations of your supervisor is still important for your career and you need to learn how to supercharge yourself when you go on video conferences.
What’s In This Article
In this article, employees like you will learn some video conferencing etiquettes and discover best practices to have consistently high-quality video calls:
Let’s get started on must-know ground rules for video conferencing applicable to all employees!
1.Testing Before the Call
Like any other successful meeting you had before, you would understand that preparation is key. It is important to do all the checks below before the scheduled call.
Check your tech
This would encompass everything, from your Wifi, the video conferencing tool of choice, settings, environment, etc.
Start off with your Wifi and do a quick speed check, you can check it out speedtest.com.sg if you are based in Singapore. Alternatively, each telco provider has its own broadband speed test available.
Next, check if your accessories are already at hand. Remember to have all your headphones (wireless or not) working perfectly. Plug in your charger because video conferencing will take up most of your power!
Moving on, be sure to check out the platform that you are using. This is quite important if it is the first few times exploring the video conferencing tool! Explore any goofy virtual backgrounds before the meeting!
We strongly encourage to activate the video preview dialog so that you can do a final check before joining a video meeting
You should also test out your audio by using the “test microphone” and “test speaker” functions that are available in all virtual conferencing tools.
Use this function to test out your different headphones, wireless earpieces or the in-built mic in your laptop to see which one sounds the best!
2.Check The Way You Look
In case you forgot, the video conference has a very important cast member, YOU!
You wouldn’t watch a show where the star’s face cannot be seen or even worse, not looking professional at all.
Similarly, in a video conference call, the way you look would determine the response that you will receive from your colleagues and supervisors.
Firstly, ensure that the lighting is bright enough to illuminate your face. Ensure that lighting falls to the side or front of your face and never behind you. If you need to, you can invest in an LED ring light that can be attached on your laptop to give you the ultimate glow.
Secondly, like it or not, basic grooming is needed for every participant in a video call. Choose the right attire and don’t take your professional standards for granted even when you are working from home.
For guys, put on a nice shirt, style your hair and give your face a clean shave. Nobody will pay you real attention if you look like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo!
For ladies, use the time saved from commuting to have some basic makeup done and freshen your self up before the call
Lastly, if need be, invest time and funds developing a home workspace.
While most of us are using existing spaces at home as a temporary workplace, the first step is to clear any visible clutter within the camera’s vision.
You may even go one step further to beautify the spot that you always work at like adding banners and potted plants to stand out from your colleagues and leave a good impression on everyone.
3.Preparation before Presentation
For in-person meetings and presentation, we would often find ourselves doing double and triple checks before the start.
Similarly for video conferencing, there is a need for you to prepare the documents beforehand before you share your screen. This also means you need to clear your desktop of unnecessary tabs and programs before the call.
When voicing out your feedback and replies, make sure to have a clear answer in your head. Your colleagues and supervisors would be sure to zone out if you keep droning on and on.
Lastly, if you are looking at an extended call or relatively long presentations, prepare water beforehand to help you combat dry throats.
Working from home means sharing the time and space in your home with your family members.
There is no quick fix to this, but you can definitely work something out with your family members. Agree with them on a fixed timing that you should not be interrupted unless it is for emergencies.
For those with kids, creating a fixed routine for both you and the young ones would help to create some order from the chaos.
5.Apply Your Presentation Skills
Remember when you had your first public speaking lesson where instructors or teachers would emphasise on the delivery of your speech, eye contact and hand gestures?
Despite the new normal of presenting and communicating online, these 3 principles are still very much applicable.
Some things that you must note that differs from presenting in physical locations are:
- The pace of your delivery has to be much slower to account for bandwidth issues across your colleagues and supervisor. You have to speak at a slower pace to get your message across via video conferencing
- Eye contact is also important when presenting online. Instead of maintaining eye contact with several people at once, this time you would just need to look at the webcam whenever you are speaking for the receiver to have the visual confirmation that you are speaking to them. A good way to facilitate this is having the webcam or camera t your eye level.
- Hand gestures do not need to be limited, do what is natural to you. However, the effect of hand gestures might be limited to the focal width of your camera.
A simple remedy to distorted voice calls is the use of microphones.
While the best quality comes from investing in a wired microphone that podcasters use for the best quality, a cheaper alternative can be wired headsets with microphones that come along with your smartphones. If you have wireless earphones, it would work fine as well.
The microphones should be a few centimetres away from your face and should not be resting on the corner of your lips. The last thing you want to do is to annoy your colleagues and supervisors with your breathing during the video conference call.
Try not to rely on the in-built microphones that are in your laptops as the close proximity of your speakers and laptop microphones are usually the main source of echos.
7.Pause to Let Others speak
After a month of Work From Home calls, you might have been in a scenario where 2 colleagues want to speak at the same time.
Understand the limitations of video conferences and do pause from time-to-time when you are giving a presentation if you require feedback.
If you have points to share, wait for a few moments of silence as a cue to speak up instead of going in headstrong like how you would do during in-person meetings.
Alternatively, proposing an effective system like raising your virtual hand, having a “facilitator” calling out names or using the chat function would earn you brownie points with your boss.
8.Optimum Video Resolution
Your video quality is influenced by what webcam you are using.
Zoom’s recommendation is using a webcam that has a 720p (1280 x 720) resolution and one that can deliver 20 frames per seconds to prevent any choppy video.
If you are willing to invest in a good webcam, you can consider getting one that goes up to 30 frames per second and has a highly reactive function to auto-focus and lighting corrections.
9.Knowing When To Turn Off Your Audio and Video
A golden rule of video conferencing is to mute yourself when you are not speaking. Leaving the microphone on is usually the main culprit of background noises like fans and ambient noises interrupting video conferences.
Also, if you decide to move out of the frame for any reasons, it would wise to switch off your video to settle the incident to prevent any distractions.
Lastly, if you are in an environment that has a lot of ambient noises, you might want to consider installing Krisp, an AI noise-cancelling software that works on most video calls.
In summary, here are the 8 steps that you have to take note:
Things to Note Before the Call
- Testing Before The Call
- Check The Way You Look
- Preparation Before Presentation
- Building Boundaries
- Apply Your Presentation Skills
- Use Microphones
- Pause to Let Others Speak
- Optimum Video Resolutions
- Knowing When to Turn Off Your Audio and Video
We hope that you have enjoyed these tips to become the best employee in the eyes of your supervisors or bosses even when working from home!
Did we miss out any tips that are helpful? Will you start off with purchasing a ring light for the best lighting during the call?Do let us know in the comments below!
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Resources and Useful Links
Best Zoom Configurations: https://firstname.lastname@example.org/zoom-configurations-5-mins-for-privacy-and-security-29f1514b2e23
Do and Don’ts of Video Conferencing: https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/19/21185472/video-confere-call-tips-zoom-skype-hangouts-facetime-remote-work
What It Takes to Run a Great Meeting: https://hbr.org/2020/03/what-it-takes-to-run-a-great-virtual-meeting
Ground Rules for Video Conferencing Like a Pro: https://www.onsip.com/voip-resources/smb-tips/ground-rules-for-video-conferencing-like-a-pro