Over the last few weeks, many people have had to quickly become familiar with virtual meeting tools and working from home. Here at Red Hot Irons, we've been remote working since 2003, so we're really familiar with video calls.
There are lots of videos circulating reminding us of what not to do on a video call, but we wanted to share some tips to help you make yours a success.
1. Take a moment to frame your camera and environment
Start by finding the quietest and most private place you can for your call where you won't need to move. Make sure your camera is framed in a way that looks and feels natural and allows you to look at the camera. Placing the camera too high or low can create awkward or unflattering angles and may make it look like you aren't engaged in the call.
People will see you as well as the general space around you so dress the same way you would if this was a physical meeting and consider removing any personal items that may be in view. Take some time to check the lighting to ensure people can see you. Lighting from the sides will make faces look the best, so try for that if you can.
2. Ensure your equipment is working before your call
Have a call with a trusted colleague, friend or family member before you host a call. This will iron out so many issues and you will get a chance to test your equipment is working. You don't want to have to delay a meeting because your video conferencing system or equipment isn't working properly. This will also let you test the features of your video conferencing software. Make sure you know how to turn off your video or mute yourself in case you quickly need to.
3. Be on time
This should be obvious no matter if the meeting is physical or online but will be very obvious when you pop up onto a video call late. Remember, it can take some time to get connected to the call, so give yourself ample time to close other work down and join the call, especially if you are the host.
4. Mute yourself when not speaking
Most microphones are very sensitive and pick up sounds like typing or people in other rooms of your house. This can interrupt a call and be quite annoying or even embarrassing as other houshold members and pets can be quite unpredictable! Muting your microphone means those noises and disturbances will be kept to a minimum. For most video conferencing software, it's as simple as a click of a button.
5. Turn off audio notifications and any distractions
Most email accounts have audio notifications enabled by default. This means if you've kept your email open, everyone will hear your notification too. If you must have your email open, turn off audio notifications so that others aren't disturbed by them as well. Close or turn off as many distractions as possible and give the call your focus, the same way you would if you were in the room together. You may been called upon to share your screen unexpectedly, so be aware of what you have open!