Tips for being professional during video calls
Over the last year, we have been placed in a situation which requires us to make some major changes in both our professional and business lives. Working from home can make you feel demotivated at times but it’s important to be grateful that your company can still survive in a virtual environment. Video calls are being used worldwide between companies to hold meetings and conferences, they are a great way of connecting and motivating employees through targeted engagement.
If this is the first time you’ve worked from your home space, it can be quite daunting to have professional work meetings whilst being based in a leisurely environment. Treat each video call as a meeting in the office, to help you maintain office professionalism at home.
Therefore, it is very important to test out your connection and internet strength beforehand to avoid any screen freezes and audio problems. You should log into the meeting 10 minutes before the start to ensure you’re ready, this way you can join the meeting successfully and test you webcam, Wi-Fi and any screen-sharing tools that you’ve planned to use.
Although the benefits to working from home include wearing comfortable clothing, you should put in extra effort when you have a meeting scheduled. Dressing up not only looks visibly better, but it can also have a positive impact on your mental and emotional state, making you feel confident and productive.
Distractions are everywhere, especially in your homes. Before any meeting it is important to remove them all where possible. This also includes any background noise which has the potential to distract co-workers. Of course, in these circumstances some elements can’t be avoided so it is best to be upfront with those in your meeting. Let them know that your children are in the next room or that your pets could wander at any moment. This will reduce your need to apologise or clarify mid-meetings and chances are, people in your call are experiencing the same thing.
This might be an obvious point, but it is surprising how many people do things in their subconscious when they are attending a meeting virtually. Many disaster moments have been shared virally when people have taken their meeting to the bathroom without properly muting themselves or turning the camera off. Excuse yourself as you would in a physical meeting, and if you’re only dressed from the top up, be careful not to show everyone what you’re really wearing when you go to get up.
If your environment has poor lighting, this can have a big effect on the video quality. Make sure there is enough light in the video, so you are clearly visible, and your screen isn’t grainy. Try to avoid placing any light below your face as this can be distracting for your colleagues, if possible, light your face from the sides. Avoid mixing natural lighting with office lighting as this can look superimposed.
A mistake which is made by many is looking at the video on screen as opposed to the camera. This appears as you are distracted and not paying attention resulting in looking unprofessional. Looking into the camera lens is the same as looking someone in the eye when they are talking so try and practise until you feel comfortable to do so.