Talking about work-from-home resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic is rather stale. And, so is the cliche of it being the new normal. As more and more employees find themselves working in the close confines of their living room, video conferencing has become a crucial part of how well and effectively these professionals perform as a team.
While it is true that video conferencing apps such as Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams have made the space their own, several more are appearing with each passing day with the Jio Platforms offering being the latest. Whatever be the platforms, the fact remains that this new technology requires some learning and lots of unlearning. We present five tips that would make you a pro on the video screen…
- Practice makes perfect – Which is why you need to review some of your video calls and take feedback and provide them too. Apps such as Zoom allows you to record the goings on and watch it for yourself – albeit only if you are the moderator. Some of the key challenges that one could face is that unwelcome visit by a family member into the room or the sudden barking of the neighbour’s dog that you didn’t factor in. Of course, there is the whole question of how you appear on screen, which we will tackle later. However, be sure to exercise the courtesy of telling participants that the call is being recorded. If you are in a conference via the browser, use QuickTime on Mac or OBS on Windows PC to record your screen.
- Professional Dress Code – How you look on screen is quite important on the sort of impact you make. So, dress up for the video just the same as you would for work. The video of a hapless executive who gets up from his chair during a VC and exposes his undergarments has been doing the rounds of WhatsApp. That one may be a joke, but why take chances? A tidy workstation and adequately plain background is also critical. Imagine having to look at the pendulum of a grandfather clock behind your boss’s head!
- Remember! It’s a Live Show – Just because you are sitting at home and peering into a camera doesn’t mean it should turn you into a zombie. Make the camera your friend by imagining that it forms the eyes for all the other people in the virtual room. In fact, come to think of it, by looking at the camera, it makes you connect with each individual on the call, which in a conference room is tough as you need to keep moving your head. Also, try and share a screen as it allows you to share data, the logo of the company, images and even infographics during the video conference. Some of the service providers offer these features natively within the app.
- The Right Equipment – The value of having a dedicated video camera over a simple webcam cannot be underscored. Similarly, get a lapel mike or at least a pair of over the ear headphones. Of course, if you are using your smartphone, keep the earbuds handy. Also, ensure that your body posture is such that you’re looking directly at the camera, not looking down on it nor looking up to it. In other words, the camera needs to be at your eye level.
- Just, Take it Easy – Since most of us come from an ecosystem where we needn’t talk to cameras, it sometimes turns us into zombies. And when we see several other faces on our screen, there is a tendency to look at the faces, which means we have shifted away from the camera’s eye. Another challenge is to factor in our internet speed while talking as unlike in real life, speaking fast may just fall prey to buffering. If you are in the habit of moving your arms while talking, it is better to place the camera (smartphone) on a stand and put some distance between yourself and the camera.
There’s much more that you can accomplish with the camera, but these above steps could be just the right start to your journey before one. Happy conferencing!